What to Eat Before a Spartan Race

You’ve probably heard of runners carb loading the night before a big race, but is that something you should consider before your Spartan event?  Well, maybe. But before you go enjoy the biggest pasta dinner of your life, let’s get nerdy and talk about how to properly fuel your body during your Spartan training and then we’ll get into pre-Spartan race food do’s and don’ts.

What to eat during Spartan race training

Whether it’s your first, second or tenth Spartan race, odds are your training program is intense, and if your training program is intense, you’re likely a bit hungrier than usual. This is totally normal as your muscles strengthen and your body becomes fitter. But, not any ole food will do. It’s important to satisfy increased hunger with nutritious (and delicious!) foods that help your muscles recover and rebuild in between workouts.

When and what to eat before a training session

You don’t always need to eat before a workout. Here’s the lowdown:

  • 2-4 hours before training: Enjoy a full meal with that has a healthy balance of complex carbs (whole grains, legumes, veggies), lean protein (chicken, fish, tofu), and some fat (avocado, nuts, seeds). Something like 8fit’s Garlic Chicken with Beet Mash and Wilted Spinach is a great option.
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  • 1-2 hours before training: Keep things simple with complex carbs (skip legumes because they take longer to digest), easy-digested proteins (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, hard-boiled egg), and a small amount of fat (only adding it if your protein doesn’t have any fat content). Try 8fit’s easy-to-make recipe, Apple, Yogurt and Peanut Butter.
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  • 30-60 minutes before training: If your workout is fast-approaching and your belly is rumbling, reach for fast-digesting carbs like banana, grapes or mango, and combine that with a small serving of protein like yogurt or milk. Something like a half-serving of 8fit’s Mango Coconut Chia Yogurt bowl would be a great option.
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Nutrition for the big race

Our best advice is to keep things consistent. Don’t enjoy a new food or cuisine the night before your big Spartan race because, to put it gently, that food could turn on you mid-race. Instead, eat foods that your body is familiar with — maybe something that made you feel well-fueled during a Spartan training session.

The night before

Go ahead and eat a little more than you normally do the night before your Spartan race, just don’t overdo it. It’s important that your body has time to digest before your big day. Also, like we said above, it’s best to keep things as “normal” as possible. Today is not the day to try that new hip Indian restaurant you’ve never been to or the day to cook a big spaghetti and meatballs dinner if that’s not part of your normal routine.

You want to feel energized and light during your race, not sluggish and weighed down.

The morning of

How you fuel your body the morning of race-day is important. Enjoy your favorite healthy breakfast 2-3 hours before the race, that way your body has time to digest before you hit the Atlas carry, barbed wire crawl, or wall jump.

Your pre-Spartan race meal should include protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Some great breakfast options include:

  • 8fit’s Chocolate, Strawberry and Peanut Butter Smoothie: Mix your protein powder of choice with banana, strawberry, raw cocoa powder, Greek yogurt and peanut butter for a high-protein breakfast helps you carry those buckets of rocks with confidence.
spartan race breakfast healthy smoothie
  • 8fit’s Kale, Tomato, and Poached Egg on Bread: You can’t go wrong with whole grain bread, poached eggs, and feta cheese! Well, poached eggs can go very wrong depending on your “egg-spert” level, so if you’re not confident, just fry or scramble them.
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  • 8fit’s Pear, Blueberry, and Ginger Breakfast Bowl: Greek yogurt is a great addition to your pre-race meal because of its solid protein content. For this recipe, you’ll mix pear, blueberries, ginger, and oats for a sweet, creamy breakfast.
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You might be nervous, and with good reason — Spartan races are notoriously challenging! But if you trained and fuelled your body properly, you’ve got nothing to work about! Any added stress will hinder your digestion and performance, so stay calm and Spartan on. You got this.

Sign up for 8fit for more healthy recipes and workouts that support your Spartan race training.