One thing that many rugby players and indeed sportsmen forget, is that you can’t expect to get 100% performance out of your body if it is not fuelled correctly. Professionals have it easy – nutritionists, meal programmes and catered food and supplements – all they have to think about is going out and playing!
Below is an E4R pre and post match nutrition guide that will provide you with the right energy sources before your game and the right foods for a hearty recovery after. Balance is key – juggling fuels and fluids along with nerves can often be tough for players. Plan ahead and you will reap the benefits.
It is key to fuel your body with carbs before a match as it increases your glycogen reserves, which is what your body uses to perform muscle contractions.
It is important to stay hydrated before the match – During exercise intense sweating can lead to dehydration so it is important to be hydrated before the match so dehydration does not affect your performance.
- Porridge with milk and topped with berries – oats provide you with glycogen and are slow release carbs.
- How do you like your eggs in the morning? (2-3 Eggs) Your chosen method on brown toast – eggs provide vital proteins – also important on game day.
- Mincemeat - turkey is your best meat option as it is filled with protein, low in fat and easily digestible, mixed with carbs e.g. Turkey mince bolognaise – tastes good too!
- Finish this off with a muffin – something easy to eat and gives you the added carbs your body needs.
Pre-Match Meal: 1.30pm
- A chicken Sandwich on brown bread filled with a little salad. This will provide you with an extra burst of energy and is a good balance of protein and carbs. We chose this as it’s important not to eat too much at this stage before a game or you’ll feel lethargic.
Changing Room, pre match:
- Sipping on water and lucozade sport. (other energy drinks are available) A lot of people get up and drink about 4 energy drinks before 2pm. Don’t do this. This short period before the match is when you should be taking on these carb filled fluids.
- Who’s brought the oranges?
- Keep sipping on water to rehydrate your body and energy drinks to re-build energy levels. If you feel like you need something in your body, a couple of jelly babies (or something similar) will suffice.
- Before you have your post-match tinny – Get some water in you to re-hydrate the body.
- The most important thing post game is to get some good food in you within 90mins of the final whistle. You can be a bit more flexible here with what you’re eating, but we suggest getting some quality pasta and meat in before you either go home or go out on the beers!
- If you do go out to celebrate this is your window where a kebab or a chippy is allowed!
- If you stayed in then a little sandwich before bed and a pint of milk will settle your stomach and give you a restful sleep.
We realise that when it comes to pre-match eating everyone is different, but it is important that you are getting enough of the right fuel in at the right times. If you don’t eat enough your body will struggle through the game; eat too much and you will feel uncomfortable and lethargic.