Black Friday Endurance Shopping: A Nutritional Plan for Optimal Performance

Categories: Holidays
photo by Dustin via Wikimedia Commons
Black Friday deals this year will be even better than usual. According to Bloomberg, if customers bought everything on the Toys "R" Us circular this year, they would save $12,500, up from $11,000 last year. Stores are opening earlier, giving you and the other ravenous holiday deal shoppers even more time to claw, kick, and elbow your ways to $19 Gap jeans and J.C. Penney's $30 kids' camcorders.​

With competition this fierce, you've got to fuel up like a champion endurance athlete if you're going to score the best schwag. Otherwise, you'll be panting and sweating on the sidelines, watching the better-hydrated, better-fed shoppers scoop up the $275 laptops you've been salivating over all week.

Luckily, we've got a nutritional plan that will ensure you take gold in the Black Friday deal-grabbing Olympics. However, we are not responsible for anyone who sustains injuries at your enraged and over-fortified shopping-obsessed hands.

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1. Thanksgiving night: Carbo load.
​All endurance athletes know that the trick to avoiding the "bonk" (the horrific, leg-stopping, mid-race feeling that all your energy stores are totally used up) is to load up on carbohydrates the night before your big athletic performance.

Even though you've already gorged yourself into a new pants size during your compulsive Thanksgiving day consumption, we recommend going the extra mile and throwing yourself a post-feast, pre-shopping pasta party.

Don't you dare protest. Do you want to be a winner or a loser?

If you plan to get up and start raiding retailers at 6 a.m., prepare yourself a massive spaghetti platter or three at about 7 p.m. the night before. Shove as much pasta into your mouth as you can before you pass out in a carbohydrate coma. This will ensure your blood is rich with glycogen when you wake up in the morning, to keep you hanging tough at the head of the frantic Friday pack. The only wall you'll be hitting is the one lined with all the 50 percent off junk you can fit in the line of five shopping carts you're pushing with your pinky.

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2. 5 a.m. Black Friday morning: Caffeinate.
​A pot of coffee is a good start, but serious competition calls for even more serious caffeination. Red Bull, Monster, Yerba Mate, and whatever else it takes - just gulp it down, champ.

You want to be so amped up on the stimulant that you're on the verge of fist-flying rage at any given moment. Those fits of frenzy will prove useful when you're trying to snag the last set of $5 Disney pajamas out from under the four people in front of you at the Wal-Mart shelf. Just think of your little nephew. What are a couple of broken jaws compared to his holiday happiness?

3. 5:15 a.m. Hydrate.
By now, bucket loads of caffeinated concoctions are coursing through your veins and your blood is as sugar-rich as the river at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Time to make sure you've got enough H2O in your system to allow you to sweat out a gallon and a half of liquid, minimum. Water is a good start, but don't forget competitive athlete favorites like coconut water and good old Gatorade, to make sure your electrolyte count is high.

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4. 7:30 a.m. Maintenance snack: Energy gel.
​By now you've been pounding the aisles for at least an hour and a half, but there's no time to let up now. You're still in the thick of the drooling droves, and you need a boost that will help set you apart.

Reach for an endurance athletes' favorite that won't require you to slow your roll or take your hand off that deeply discounted cashmere sweater, even for a second: a packet of glucose gel you can tear into with your teeth and a single hand. In seconds, those gooey simple sugars will give you a rush that will have you climbing to unreachable shelves and leaping over the heads of those pathetic, unprepared amateurs.

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