12 Winning Race Day Starters
Power up your performance with these tasty fueling options
By Hammer Nutrition athletes
Hammer peak performance tip: On race day, top the tank with 300-400 calories of complex carbs and a little protein, three hours before the event. Hammer Gel, Hammer Bars, and Hammer Vegan or Whey proteins are ideal starters.
Part tried-and-true fueling regimen and part good luck charm, healthy pre-race meals are vital to race day success.
Based on nutrition science and the experience of thousands of athletes, a healthy and effective pre-exercise meal consists of 300-400 calories of complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. To avoid potential digestive issues, your pre-race meal should include a minimum of fiber, simple sugar, and fat. Your primary goal is to top off liver glycogen stores, which your body has expended during sleep. Muscle glycogen (about 80% of your total glycogen stores) remains intact overnight.
4. 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1 banana, 2 cups hemp milk, and 1 scoop of Hammer Vegan Protein - Howie Nordstrom
5. Bagel with almond butter, banana, and Espresso Hammer Gel - Nick Modrzejewski
6. One smashed banana, 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 tablespoon Udo's omega oil, and one scoop of Hammer Whey Protein. It's super easy on my stomach and has a great balance. - Martin Criminale
8. Power shake made of Hammer Whey Protein, frozen berries, yogurt, wheat germ, apple, spinach, sunflower and flax seeds, cinnamon, and water. I make my drinks on Sunday and seal them so I'm ready every day of the week. - Dusty Dustyn
9. A smoothie made from half a cup of aronia berries, banana, cup of apple juice, and half a cup of Greek yogurt - plus a Hammer Bar - Pete Kostelnick
10. Van's Power Grain waffle with sliced banana and Nocciola Hammer Gel - Heath Wagner
12. Bread topped with almond butter and sliced banana, drizzled with Nocciola Hammer Gel to bring it all together - Travis McWhorter
Timing: observe the three-hour rule
The timing of your pre-race meal is key! Be sure to complete your meal no later than three hours before your race or workout. Three hours gives your body enough time to fully process the meal to avoid GI issues, and it allows blood glucose levels to normalize. Eating beyond that three-hour mark can seriously hamper performance by 1) reducing fats to fuels conversion, and 2) depleting muscle glycogen more quickly.