Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

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Ben Fry
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Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by Ben Fry » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:25 pm

This may or may not be the correct place for this post, so please feel free to move it to a better board.

Our team is in a tough spot: we are better than many teams in our area, but we haven't made it to the point where we can beat the best teams.
One of our biggest problems is...
Lunch.

At tournaments which have morning and afternoon sections (pretty much all of them), we often do quite good in the morning, even sometimes upsetting teams which are objectively better. But once we eat lunch, we crash and burn. We stop buzzing competitively. We stop pulling stuff out when we get prompted. We become worse at quizbowl.
Any advice?
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by vinteuil » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:53 pm

Ben Fry wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:25 pm
This may or may not be the correct place for this post, so please feel free to move it to a better board.

Our team is in a tough spot: we are better than many teams in our area, but we haven't made it to the point where we can beat the best teams.
One of our biggest problems is...
Lunch.

At tournaments which have morning and afternoon sections (pretty much all of them), we often do quite good in the morning, even sometimes upsetting teams which are objectively better. But once we eat lunch, we crash and burn. We stop buzzing competitively. We stop pulling stuff out when we get prompted. We become worse at quizbowl.
Any advice?
This isn't healthy advice in general, but have you tried bringing snacks and grazing each round? It makes lunch less of a blood-sugar spike.
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by matthewspatrick » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:55 pm

This sort of makes me wonder: what are you and your teammates eating/drinking for lunch?

Also: if you are playing well before the break, chances are decent that you are facing relatively stronger opponents after the break than before. Thus to some degree, a drop-off in afternoon performance probably shouldn't be wholly unexpected.
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by ryanrosenberg » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:58 pm

Eating a light lunch and packing snacks can help avoid drowsiness.

That being said, in my experience, post-lunch fatigue is a pretty minor influence on a game's outcome as opposed to PPB in other games; maintaining proper energy and focus levels will help around the margins, but isn't worth worrying too much about (compared to learning more things).
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by gimmedatguudsuccrose » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:12 pm

I'll echo what others have said about the importance of eating a light lunch and snacking throughout the day. Personally, I also try to get a nap in during lunch when possible. Also, if you drink caffeine in the morning, much of it will have worn off by lunchtime, so both re-hydrating and re-caffeinating may be called for.
Geriatric trauma wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:58 pm
Eating a light lunch and packing snacks can help avoid drowsiness.

That being said, in my experience, post-lunch fatigue is a pretty minor influence on a game's outcome as opposed to PPB in other games; maintaining proper energy and focus levels will help around the margins, but isn't worth worrying too much about (compared to learning more things).
Due to the structure of most tournaments, post-lunch fatigue will often effect the first afternoon playoff game, which can be quite decisive in some scenarios. I would argue that in addition to not wanting to lose, it can be extremely advantageous to minimize your fatigue level relative to that of the opponent (as almost everyone suffers from some form of lunch fatigue) in order to eke out a crucial win. For instance, during my junior year at NSC, the "lunch advantage" helped my team upset the significantly better 2nd seed and make the superplayoffs in what was our most important match of the entire tournament.
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by iarehavethestupid » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:28 pm

Would skipping lunch be a good idea? Rounds at most of the tournaments I've gone to start around 9, so I'm usually not very hungry around the lunch break.
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by alexdz » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:30 pm

What you eat for lunch can impact how you feel after. If you can find something relatively light and somewhat healthy, along the lines of a turkey sandwich or a salad, you won't have the tiredness that comes along with digesting a big hearty meal. So unfortunately, a go-to like Chipotle isn't always ideal for having mid-afternoon energy. And hydration is so key, both to help with digestion but also just in general.

Going the other direction, if people find themselves getting hungry before the lunch break, finding some small snacks - Goldfish, nuts, granola bars - is helpful, but even something like some mints or gum can help fend off the hunger pangs for a round or two.
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by Ben Fry » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:27 pm

This sort of makes me wonder: what are you and your teammates eating/drinking for lunch?
Generally we've had pizza...
Maybe we just need to change our lunch choice?
Also: if you are playing well before the break, chances are decent that you are facing relatively stronger opponents after the break than before. Thus to some degree, a drop-off in afternoon performance probably shouldn't be wholly unexpected.
Certainly.
My issue is more this: we play the same team before and after lunch.
Before lunch, we beat them by around 50 points.
After lunch, we lost by around 200.
The other team is better than us (they had better ppb, pp20th, and pretty much every other metric), but we were able to stay competitive before lunch in a way that way that we couldn't after.
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by karsten7814 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:18 am

Ben Fry wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:27 pm
This sort of makes me wonder: what are you and your teammates eating/drinking for lunch?
Generally we've had pizza...
Maybe we just need to change our lunch choice?
Also: if you are playing well before the break, chances are decent that you are facing relatively stronger opponents after the break than before. Thus to some degree, a drop-off in afternoon performance probably shouldn't be wholly unexpected.
Certainly.
My issue is more this: we play the same team before and after lunch.
Before lunch, we beat them by around 50 points.
After lunch, we lost by around 200.
The other team is better than us (they had better ppb, pp20th, and pretty much every other metric), but we were able to stay competitive before lunch in a way that way that we couldn't after.
One thing that I know is that perennial middle school national contender Middlesex Middle School's coach forbids them from eating pizza for lunch because it apparently slows them down. They win a lot, so I can't confirm or deny if that has something to do with it. Also, to your second point, packet advantage is real. I can play a good team and beat them by 300 if the packet works perfectly for my specialties, but then again the same could happen for them over me. I think you may be overanalyzing this. If you're so sure the other team is stronger than you, then perhaps you just got lucky in the morning and in the afternoon they wanted to beat you? Revenge is a strong motivator in-game. Anyways, I agree with the person who said to eat a turkey sandwich. You want something high in protein that will energize you for the afternoon.
Last edited by karsten7814 on Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by Ben Fry » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:42 am

Got it. You're right, I sometimes overestimate other factors and underestimate simply which questions are asked and which aren't.
Thanks for all the input everybody!
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by jonah » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:36 pm

karsten7814 wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:18 am
One thing that I know is that perennial middle school national contender Middlesex Middle School's coach forbids them from eating pizza for lunch because it apparently slows them down. They win a lot, so I can't confirm or deny if that has something to do about it.
A certain Auburn alumna tells me that their team had the same policy*, at least when Linda Greene was the coach.

*By which I mean "no pizza", but it also applies to "they win a lot".
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Re: Staying Alert/Focused after Lunch

Post by Lives4quizbowl » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:02 pm

I feel a slowdown when I compete, not from lunch but from playing so many rounds in succession. When I started going to longer practices a lot of that fatigue went away. Maybe it's a focus problem?
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