Fuelling for a Grading

Optimising your nutrition can delay the onset of fatigue, maintain optimal strength, power and endurance while providing your brain with the fuel it needs to keep you focused, alert and motivated…especially important towards the end!!

Below are some hints about what you can do as you prepare for grading day.


When we exercise, we sweat, happens to us all!  It’s important to replace this loss of water and salts so our bodies can function, help to prevent cramps, headaches and perform to the best of our ability.

  • Before: In the 24hrs before a grading, make sure you keep yourself well hydrated.  Try and drink a steady amount throughout the day.
  • During:
    • Come to the grading with plenty of fluids to last the duration, add a little diluting juice if you struggle with plain water.  Nothing fizzy as this could leave your stomach feeling uncomfortable as you exercise.
    • Take small sips of fluid rather than ‘gulping’ down fluids, which will again leave you feeling ‘full’ and sluggish.
    • If your grading exceeds 2hrs consider using drinks that contain electrolytes to help replace salt loss, again small sips periodically throughout the grading.
  • After:  You will most likely finish in a fluid deficit, so it is important to continue to hydrate in the hrs following your grading.


It is important to make sure your body has sufficient energy stores, particularly in a 2hrs+ grading.  Insufficient energy stores can lead to fatigue, reduced power, concentration, and focus.

  • Before: Make sure you have a good healthy breakfast containing healthy carbs which will provide you with energy to perform.  Examples of this: porridge, cereal, toast, berries, and yoghurt
  • During: Bring some snacks along that you can dip into during the grading for energy and to replace salts:
    • Sweets like jelly babies are a great way to get a quick energy boost as required throughout the grading.
    • Salted foods like ready salted crisps or salted pretzels will help replace lost salts and prevent cramps.
  • After: You may not feel hungry or want to eat straight after your grading, but it is important to replenish your energy store and aid in your recovery. Try to eat a meal with a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

Written by Susan Campbell