What are you doing the night before a big sporting event? If you want to perform at your best level tomorrow, the food you eat tonight can have a positive impact tomorrow.

It’s called carb-loading, and it’s the best way to make sure your body has the reserve of energy that will be needed. It’s the physiological reason that high school swim teams hold spaghetti-feeds the night before a meet.

Here’s why: The body stores carbohydrates in the short term as glycogen, which, with exercise, is converted to energy-giving glucose. An athlete may consume up to 1,000 calories on a meal consisting of spaghetti with sauce (one that has little or no meat), two dinner rolls, a salad and apple juice.

Going with a tested-and-true favorite like spaghetti is wise, because most athletes like to have a meal that holds no surprises, like stomach upset.

Dessert is just fine, even chocolate. But stay away from fatty indulgences, such as whipped cream. Sherbet and gelato are good choices, because they have a higher carbohydrate content than ice cream.

After a heavy meal like this you might get a little sleepy, which is also a good thing. Making sure you’re well rested, with at least 8 hours of sleep, will also help sharpen your competitive edge.