Updated: Feb 15, 2020
As with all nutrition there is no one size fits all. It is critical for any athlete or sportsperson to be eating well but even more importantly to be fueled pre and post training/match/event.
Try drive a car without petrol and see how far you get!!!
Sports Performance is about 1% better hydration, nutrition, training, recovery, sleep....in fact every aspect of day to day life which will soon add up to 5-10% advantage on your opponent.
Now is the time to test what food works and also crucially what time or how close to training you can comfortably eat. Waiting until the season kicks off and trying food out before a match can cause serious digestion problems like stomach cramp, nausea and badly affect performance. Again, there is no one size fits all. People can eat anything from 30 mins to 2 hrs before training. That’s a big time difference and it is trial and error. Some people can’t eat at all due to nerves if it’s a big match/game and then we all get caught out at times and it’s too close to training/match to eat!
A few tips before the training/match
Hydration = We are on average 70% water so drink at least 250 mls every 30 mins before the event.
Try to eat a balanced meal 3-4 hours pre event including quality protein, carbs and fats.
The key is to eat a light meal/snack the closer to the event you get and my advice is not to eat any closer to 30 mins before throw in.
The body requires carbs and protein but NOT fat close to the event as fats (including good fats) digest too slowly.
Here are a few quick and easy pre-event snacks
Scrambled egg on toast (wholemeal if possible but not essential)
Boiled eggs / egg sandwich (maybe not before a bus journey with teammates!!!)
Banana or banana sandwich
Porridge (hot or cold like overnight oats) with or without some berries
Apple or Pear with a small amount of peanut butter
Toast and jam
A handful of nuts and raisin
Smoothie with porridge oats, berries, 30g protein powder, fruit…
There is a very true saying that ‘we can only compete as well as we can recover’
If our recovery takes too long or is not done properly it will affect us in our day to day lives and our ability to train or play the next match.
Recovery is twofold firstly nutrition and secondly quality rest/sleep (I will do a separate info sheet on sleep soon)
So we will focus on the nutrition and refueling the body post training/match.
Training and playing sport literally stretches and strains our muscles and depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals so we need to get them repairing as soon as possible and it is Protein that will do this. We also need Carbs to restore our glycogen (fuel stores).
We need to hydrate but we need more than just water. We need to replace lost vitamins and minerals so a sports drink with electrolytes and salts is great. Coconut water is also good.
Try to eat within 20-30 mins after training/match. If it is late at night something light is better as a heavy meal will affect your sleep.
Here are a few quick and easy post-event snacks
Banana (yes, the humble banana is great pre/post event!) with peanut butter
Eggs -scrambled/poached/boiled (again eggs are ideal pre/post event)
A bowl of porridge or Weetabix with full fat milk and berries or honey
Cheese on toast or crackers
Dried fruit and nuts
Greek yogurt with fruit
Fresh fruit – apples, pears, oranges…
Peanut or any nut butter on toast, crackers or rice cakes
Smoothie with full fat milk/Greek yogurt, oats, berries, seeds, fruit…..
Chocolate milk is very good (but in my opinion horrible!)
These are only a tiny example of pre/post training/match fuel. If there is nothing here that you like or can’t eat contact me directly and we can explore other foods that might suit.