Allow enough time to eat breakfast before arriving at the assessment centre. It is generally recommended to eat 2-3 hours before exercise to allow enough time for the food to fully digest. It may also be a good idea to pack some light snacks with you so that you can eat something if you feel hungry whilst you are travelling or when you arrive. We've suggests some good snack options, however, for breakfast aim to choose foods that are a good source of complex carbohydrate, protein, and fibre and low in sugar and fat. This will help provide a slow release of energy and to help you to feel full.
Good examples of breakfast for the day might be:
Porridge with banana and berries
Weetabix with banana and honey
Wholemeal toast with peanut butter
Low fat Greek yoghurt with banana and frozen berries
Scrambled/poached eggs with wholemeal toast and mushrooms
A common mistake many people make is starting exercise dehydrated. This may negatively affect your performance during your Army fitness tests. Aim to drink plenty of fluids prior to arriving at the assessment centre and a total of 6-8 glasses throughout the day. You may need to drink more if the weather is hot and/or if you sweat a lot during exercise. You can monitor how hydrated you are by checking the colour of your urine. If you are drinking enough it will be clear or a pale yellow.
Good fluid options may include water and sugar-free squash. It is advised to avoid high sugar energy drinks, such as Red bull and Monster, as these will contain high amounts of sugar and caffeine and will not be as effective at hydrating you.
The assessment day is likely to be busy with lots of activities aimed to test you physically and mentally. You will be given hot meals at the assessment centre, but it is a good idea to pack some additional light snacks. Ideally, these should be good sources of carbohydrate and low in fat and sugar to help give you a slow release of energy and reduce hunger. These may also be beneficial if you have to leave early to travel to the assessment centre.
Eating a good source of complex carbohydrate will help give you energy for your fitness tests. It is also generally recommended to include a source of protein to help you feel full whilst reducing the amount of fat and fibre you eat in the 2-3 hours before exercise to help reduce stomach discomfort.
Good food options for breakfast are shown in the first section but if you are competing your fitness tests after lunch then these may be good options in the assessment centre canteen:
Wholegrain bread with tuna/ham and salad
Chicken with wholewheat pasta in a tomato sauce
Chicken or salmon with brown rice and vegetables
Jacket potato with baked beans and cheese/tuna and salad