You are probably well aware that many areas of health can be affected by what you eat. What you eat, how much of it you eat and when you eat it also effects your performance.
Rugby is a high impact contact sport so it is vital that you have plenty of readily available energy, can recover quickly and protect your joints from injury.
Ensuring your body is optimally nourished and hydrated is vital for you to get the most from your sport. Eating the right type and balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins on a day to day basis and before and after training can ensure your body is performing at its best.
Your best option as always is to seek professional help. In the case of hydration and nutrition that expert would be a Sports Nutritional consultant. The benefits of a one to one consultation would be to:
Improve your stamina, strength and speed and overall performance
Help you achieve your target body fat percentage
Improve your recovery
Support your hydration needs
Strengthen your immune system
Optimise your vitamin and mineral status
Work out your carbohydrate, protein and fat requirements
Provide up to date specific advice on sports supplementation
Performance will be enhanced only if you actually put into practice the advice and written plan a nutritionist will produce, if you get it wrong you can limit your physical development or delay your comeback following injury. Basically you won’t fulfil your potential on the rugby field.
Eat regularly every 3-4 hours to prevent a roller coaster effect on your hormones which encourages either fat storage, limitation of recovery, muscle growth and strengthening.
Save eating fast digested carbohydrates (sugary foods, highly processed foods, many fruits) for post exercise meals to aid recovery. Your body deals with these sugary foods more efficiently at this time. Following a game or workout you can afford to eat up to 1/3 of total calories for that day. Beer does not count.
Find out what your requirements are for protein and total calories from a reputable source. Individuals vary in their requirements and every “expert” has a different opinion but you will get an idea across the spectrum of opinion. Ask us.
Moderate your carbohydrate intake in your last meal of the day, especially if it is shortly before you are going to sleep. Too much can affect hormone levels important to recovery and disrupt sleep quality. Try and make protein the predominant food group in this last meal.
You need 20% of total calories from fat. Your main sources should be from naturally occurring fats rather than processed. Oily fish, olive oil, seeds, avocado are in: processed vegetable oil, margarine, fatty cuts of meat should be avoided on a regular basis.
Don’t go mad on fruit but most of us can afford to increase our vegetable intake to cater for fibre and nutrient requirements.
Follow sensible eating 80% of the time but don’t deny yourself the foods you enjoy that are processed, and think about when you are eating them. Hydration
Hydration is extremely important for rugby players. During training you may lose up to 1-2 litres of water every hour, which can decrease your performance by 25%!
Drink plenty of water each day and every day, make sure it is readily available to you
Make sure are especially well hydrated before a game or training session. You can use a sports drink 15-30 minutes before, drink about ½ litre.
Drink regularly through training, consume 150-200 ml every ¼ hour. This is about ½ of a regular size glass.
Drink before you are thirsty
Guess work isn’t good enough. Learn how to improve your hydration and nutrition to improve your performance.