BIG Nutrition: Fueling for long or multiple events on the same day


BIG Nutrition: Fueling for long or multiple events on the same day

Are you competing in a combined event or multi-WOD event this summer? How should you fuel between or during long or multiple events or WODs that occur in one day? Three areas deserve attention:


Adequate hydration is critical between events, especially during hot weather. Urine provides two good markers for adequate hydration. If your urine volume seems less and/or the color is dark yellow, you need to drink more.

Electrolytes: especially sodium and potassium

Sweat not only contains fluid, it contains sodium. Replace sodium either through commercial or homemade sport drinks. Potassium, which is needed for muscle contraction, is also provided in most sport drinks. If you have time to eat, are permitted to do so, and can tolerate eating, then add a high potassium food (e.g., banana, cantaloupe, tomato, sweet or white potato).


For events lasting 1-2.5 hours, consume at least 30-60 gm carbohydrate/hour of exercise.

Some options for refueling:

  • Gatorade™ contains 21 gm carbs (sucrose and dextrose), 160 mg sodium, 45 mg potassium in 12 ounces.
  • Powerade™ contains 22 gm carbs (high fructose corn syrup), 150 mg sodium, 35 mg potassium in 12 ounces.
  • One medium (~7 inches) banana contains 27 gm carbs, 1 mg sodium, 420 mg potassium.

Be sure to consume fluid in addition to these options:

  • Bloks™ (3 pieces) contains 24 gm carbs, 50 mg sodium, 18 mg potassium.
  • Gu chews (4 pieces) contains 20 gm carbs, 40 mg sodium, 40 mg potassium.
  • Gu gel, original (1 pkt, depends on flavor) contains 22 gm carbs, 40-60 mg sodium, 30-60 mg potassium.

What about protein? Events may occur too close together to permit consumption of a large amount of protein, which delays stomach emptying and can result in gastrointestinal discomfort, but small amounts may be tolerated between events.  

Like most things, it is best to test out a fueling strategy to see what works for you before you get to the actual event. All the best on your competitions this summer!

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

Have questions about preparation for athletic performance? Contact me at [email protected]. Private Nutrition Services are available for BIG Members (@ 30% discount) and the Community. They are listed here.