Brain Fuel: Keeping yourself functional in a long tournament

Though I’ve read a couple reports on how food affects willpower and decision-making ability before, I haven’t seen a good summary of applying it to competitive gaming before. Someone apparently had the same thought and wrote this article for Starcitygames. Although it’s written for Magic players, it applies to pretty much any competitive event where you have to make decisions or strain yourself.

A couple addenda to the otherwise-excellent article:

  1. It’s apparently the act of locking in a decision that is draining, not analysis beforehand.
  2. The daily willpower “gas tank” gets replenished by sleep as well as sugar, though obviously both are needed.
  3. Caffeine, to my knowledge, doesn’t help. It keeps you alert, stops you from getting more tired than you are and aids in routine tasks but doesn’t actually fuel the brain for making decisions in a game of Magic, or analyzing your SF play and doing picks and stuff. Helpful, but not the key thing.

eating junk food between pools/matches is the worst thing to do. Bag of chips plus a snickers bar and a coke will give you a sugar/energy boost for 30 minutes but you will also lose concentration during that time and it will even get worse after that.
A good healthy breakfast will take you along way in the day. Pairing it up with a med calorie lunch with vitamins midday is the way to go.

I say all these things, but i prefer eating whoppers and drinking beer when doing tourneys. It helps me. It really does.