Are you unsure of what to eat before a big meet? If you are an athlete who is new to weightlifting, there are some do’s and don’ts of what to eat (and not eat) before weigh-ins and competition.
The first time I competed was also my first time having to weigh in for a sport. I wasn’t exactly sure what to eat or not eat before the big day. My training weight and competition weight are usually within 1-2 kilograms of each other (roughly 2-4lbs) so I wasn’t extremely worried. I went to the room to weigh in and even with the minimum clothing on, I was still slightly above weight. I quickly went to the restroom and re-weighed in. Luckily I was able to make weight and have since gotten more comfortable with pre-meet meals and weigh-ins.
Tip One: Monitor
1). Monitor your weight leading up to the meet. Note that each scale is different to a slight degree, but you should be regularly checking your weight and make adjustments weeks in advance if you are cutting to a large degree. If you are at a venue a few days before you compete, use their scale to check your weight every day until it is your time to weigh in so you can be sure that your weight is being measured on the same scale.
Drink Enough But Not Too Much
2). Don’t over hydrate. Drinking tons of water the day before or day of the meet will not necessarily help you lift better, however much water you just drank will just be added to your weight.
Ease Up on Salt
3). Avoid anything salty. Foods that are high in sodium cause you to retain water, something that does not help you make weight.
Less is More
4). Eat something small, with protein and carbohydrates 1-3 hours prior to weigh-ins. If you are weighing in during the morning, you may not need to eat anything at all. If you are weighing in later in the day, eat something light that will hold you over until you can weigh in. I usually eat a protein bar and coffee because it gives me energy, keeps me full, and facilitates digestion before I weigh in.
After you weigh in you still have two hours before the meet starts so keep snacks with you to eat when you’re done and eat them early so you have time to digest. I usually take something similar to what I ate that morning – quick, easy to eat and store, and easily digested. Cheese and crackers, beef jerky, protein bar, fruit, etc. Again, find something that has carbs and protein in it to give keep you full and fueled.
Use the Bathroom
5). Go to the bathroom before you weigh in. Sounds simple, but this was something that I didn’t do my first time and it made the difference between making weight and not making weight! The goal is to be as close to your weight class as possible, being too far underweight is not advantageous.
No New Foods
6). I’ll say it again. NO NEW FOODS! Eat something that you have eaten before and you know your body is comfortable with. The day you weigh in is not the time to try anything new (food or drink) without knowing how you will respond to it. The last thing you want is an upset stomach, or too much caffeine before you put large amounts of weight over your head.
So that’s it! Monitor your weight leading up to the meat, keep it simple, and don’t try anything new on the big day. I hope this was helpful and as always, come check us out!
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Marisa Galli: MS, CSCS
Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instruction, Weightlifting Coach
Dunford, M., & Doyle, J. (2015). Nutrition for sport and exercise.