What to Eat and Avoid
1. Stay Hydrated
The most difficult part of preparing for a PT test is the most intuitive. Staying properly hydrated seems like so simple of a task that it is often overlooked. There is much more to staying hydrated than drinking water. The first suggestion is not to drink too much water. Drinking large amounts of water in a short period of time will flush the body of necessary electrolytes. Once the electrolytes have been flushed out, there is nothing in your body to keep you hydrated. Salts help retain the water. This is not to say that you should be taking in a ton of salt either. Too much salt will have the opposite effect. Eat something with some salt while you drink your water. I recommend a banana for every three glasses you drink. If you’re going to drink Gatorade the night before a PT test, do so in moderation. Large amounts of sugar and salts will do nothing but dehydrate you. Gatorade should only be drunk after a workout to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. If you really want the best possible drink for hydrating, go out and buy Pedialyte. I know it’s for kids and not as sweet as Gatorade, but it is designed to hydrate in a hurry. It is costly, but one large bottle will do the trick.
2. Do not “Carbo-load”
There is a common misconception that eating a large amount of carbs the night before a workout will give you more energy the next day. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When your body breaks down large amounts of carbs, it will process them into stored energy or fat. This process actually uses a great deal of energy also. Increased energy will come from meals eaten within two to five hours depending on what you eat. Carbs are broken down faster than other forms of food. If eaten about 4 hours before working out, they can be very helpful. Unfortunately, PT tests are scheduled at 6 a.m. Getting up at 1:30 to eat just isn’t a good solution. Sleep is much more important than a small boost in energy. The other issue with eating a lot of one particular is that your body cannot process all of it. This causes more waste to be generated. I let you guess how a large amount of waste would affect you on the day of a PT test. Since you aren’t going to get up at one and you shouldn’t carbo-load, what should you do? Eat a moderate balanced meal with protein, vegetables, and some carbohydrates.