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Nutrition and Performance in Sport

Christophe Hausswirth

Chapter 1. Nutrition: from training to competition

Topic 4. Travel abroad

Yann Le Meur, Amélie Fosse, Christophe Hausswirth, Axel Heulin, Véronique Rousseau, Eve Tiollier et École Lenôtre

Texte intégral

Questions and answers

Key points
■ During a trip abroad, travelling, jet lag and altered eating habits can perturb the athlete’s nutritional behaviour. In this particular context, the athlete must pay attention to his diet.
■ Adapting your eating habits can accelerate resynchronization of the biological clock for recovery from jet lag.

Why is it important that athletes pay attention to their diet while travelling abroad?

1High-level athletes frequently travel abroad. However, these frequent changes of environment can affect the diet due to difficulties and distractions. This can sometimes be a problem, especially when the training load is high (during a training course) or when the athlete has to achieve peak performance during a competition. It is thus recommended that athletes implement nutritional strategies to:

  • meet daily carbohydrate and protein requirements;

  • maintain a balanced diet;

  • remain well hydrated;

  • avoid any problems related to food poisoning.

How can food influence resynchronization of the biological clock during a trip abroad?

2Because of their numerous trips abroad, athletes often suffer from desynchronization of their circadian rhythm relative to their reference time zone. This generates a certain number of problems because in normal conditions, the body clock can only adjust to changes of one or two hours per day. Therefore, when travelling to countries more than three time zones away, there is a discrepancy between the athlete’s internal circadian rhythm and the environmental rhythm due to the time difference. Some nutritional strategies can be used to accelerate resynchronization of the biological clock as certain foods have a stimulating power (especially proteins and caffeine), whereas others promote sleep (carbohydrates). Consequently, if you know how to manage your intake of these before travelling, during the journey, and when you arrive, it is possible to accelerate resynchronization and to limit the deleterious effects of the time difference.

Practical applications

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1. Before the trip

Inform yourself about the destination

3Water quality

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4 Weather conditions in August

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5 Catering quality and type of food available

6 Reduce the risks of intestinal problems by avoiding...

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7very spicy food (chilli, garlic), fried food (fritters, doughnuts), raw food

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8fried food, meat with sauce, raw food

9 If you have food allergies, avoid...

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10groundnut-based local dishes, nuts, shellfish

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11soy-based local dishes, shellfish, groundnuts, sesame and glutamate (in sauces)

12 Make a list of products to take with you, depending on whether the food you normally eat will be available

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13dairy products not available

Make a list of food to take with you based on your usual eating habits

14 For the journey

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15Fruit cereal bars, fruit purée pouches (< 150 ml)

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16 For your breakfast and pre-training snacks

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17Semi-skimmed milk powder, rusks, biscuits, cereals (oat-flake muesli), jam, honey, dried fruit, fruit purée

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18 For during training

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19Sports drink powder, energy bars, energy biscuits, cereal bars, energy gels, water

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20 For post-exercise snacks

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21Recovery drink powder, semi-skimmed milk powder, cereal bars, biscuits, gingerbread, dried fruit, fruit purée

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Get ready for jet lag in August

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2. During the flight

Change your watch to coincide with the time at your destination

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Monitor your hydration

22(See Fact sheet No. 10 Hydration, p. 342)

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3. When you arrive

Get used to jet lag

23 Set a nutritional strategy to help you to adapt to jet lag (See Fact sheet No. 12 Sleep and alertness, p. 371)

24 To promote sleep

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25 To promote alertness

Image 100000000000001F0000001FB2741970.jpg Eat small amounts of food and divide your meals

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Stick to your usual eating habits as far as possible

26 When choosing at restaurants or in the canteen

27 For your snacks and during training

Adapt your hydration to the local climatic conditions

28 Adaptez la concentration de votre boisson de l’effort selon la température (See Fact sheet No. 10 Hydration, p. 342)

Make sure you are well hydrated Image 10000000000000EC00000032F736ED30.jpg

Comply with sanitary hygiene recommendations

29 Before every meal

Wash or disinfect your hands Image 100000000000007800000028DBE2A0F9.jpg

30 Meals

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31 Temperature of the dishes served: hot dishes should be served hot, not warm (cold dishes should be served cold)

Drink bottled water, sealed drinks or hot drinks (boiled water) Image 100000000000004C0000003265AE655C.jpg
Use bottled water or boiled water for all your daily activities, including making ice cubes, rinsing fruit, brushing your teeth, etc. Image 100000000000003900000032933FE40D.jpg


Beef stir-fry with spicy lemongrass vegetables

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Photo credit: Thibaut Ruggeri.

32Serves 2

33Preparation time: 30 minutes

34Cooking time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Image 10000000000000510000001FDD17A55F.jpg


36 300 g beef fillet

37 10 g paprika

38Cut the beef fillet into strips and sprinkle with paprika.

39Set aside.


41 150 g carrots

42 100 g mangetout

43 100 g shiitake mushrooms

44 100 g beansprouts

45Olive oil

46 Salt, pepper

47 Mild paprika

48Thinly slice the shiitakes and carrots.

49Stir-fry all the ingredients in a wok with a bit of olive oil, add seasoning.

50Make sure the vegetables retain some "bite".

51Strain and set aside.


53 5 g olive oil

54 40 g shallots

55 1 lemongrass stalk

56 10 g peeled ginger

57 10 g garlic

58 20 g honey

59 20 g wine vinegar

60 40 g soy sauce

61 100 g veal stock

62 Fresh coriander leaves

63Chop the shallots and sweat them together with the bulb of the lemongrass.

64Add the ginger and garlic.

65Allow to brown slightly, add the honey.

66Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and soy sauce. Add the veal stock.

67Cook gently for about 30 minutes.

68Mix, strain. Season to taste.

69Final steps

70Quickly stir-fry the beef fillet strips and season at the end of cooking. Sprinkle with more paprika.

71Heat up the vegetables in the sauce.

72Place the vegetables over the beef strips and sprinkle with the fresh coriander before serving.

73Chef’s note

74This dish is very rich in protein. It covers half the daily iron requirements for women (and 80% of men’s). As the meat and vegetables are cooked, there is no risk of food poisoning.

75This dish does not contain much carbohydrate; so it is recommended that you have a starter and/or dessert with a source of starch (pasta or rice salad, rice or semolina pudding). It would be wise to complete the meal by adding a dairy product, for calcium.

76Nutritional analysis per person

Energy (Cal)

Carbs (g)



Lipids (g)

Protein (g)




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