Nutrition has a big role in improving performance in sport. Having a good nutritional plan aids your performance a great deal. Eating the right stuff to enable you to perform at your best is not hard but, just like any other diet, you need some discipline.
Training to play rugby, whether ball skills, aerobic or anaerobic fitness, contact skills or resistance training requires high levels of energy to perform; as do matches.
Most of the required energy should come from carbohydrates. You should eat foods low in the Glycaemic Index (GI) and either a protein blend or Casein, egg or soy protein early in the day before exercise. This will provide you with slow release energy you need throughout the day as well as providing you with a slow release protein. Just before exercise, you should consume high GI foods as well as high amounts of Whey Protein. The high GI food will provide a quick release burst of energy you will need and the whey protein floods your bloodstream with amino acids to aid recovery. It has been proven that athletes perform better when they consume a protein and carbs drink before and during exercise compared to carbs drinks and water.
Eating protein is as important as eating carbohydrates. It is essential for muscle repair and recovery. Each meal during the days should have a high amount of protein content and foods such as chicken, turkey and tuna are all excellent at providing a source of protein.
Everyone needs vitamins and minerals, but athletes may need a higher amount than the average person to aid recovery. Fruit and vegetables are a great source of these, as well as providing fibre and complex carbs. Foods such as spinach, watercress, courgettes, mange tout, peppers and apples are some of the most commonly eaten foods by rugby players.
Finally, the most important thing. Plenty of water. You should drink a pint of water with every meal. Before training sessions or gym sessions you should have a hypotonic drink to compensate for the fluid you will lose during exercise and post exercise you should consume a hypertonic drink to replace lost fluids, electrolytes and carbs. During exercise, isotonic drinks are preferred by many top athletes as they replace the lost water and sodium.
You can make these easily at home without having to spend much money.
- 250 ml Fruit Juice (Orange, Apple, Pineapple etc.)
- 750 ml Water
- Pinch of Salt
- 750 ml Fruit Juice (Orange, Apple, Pineapple etc.)
- 250 ml Water
- Pinch of Salt
- 500 ml Fruit Juice (Orange, Apple, Pineapple etc.)
- 500 ml Water
- Pinch of Salt
World famous rugby player Jonny Wilkinson claimed he eats mostly chicken breast with a salad of mange tout, courgettes and peppers!
Breakfast is important on an average day, but the morning of a match it is even more important. You should eat a big breakfast which, again, is high in carbs and protein. A bowl of cereal isn’t enough. You should try and have a bowl of cereal, eggs (poached, scrambled or an omelette, not fried), some fruit and at least a pint of water.
In the days leading up to a match, you need to drink much more water than usually to ensure you are properly hydrated. Drink a hypotonic drink the morning of a match.
You do not need a large lunch. A small portion of meat with pasta and salad is perfect. Eat a couple of hours before kick off. Just before kick off, some players like to eat a chocolate bar or a small packet of sweets for a quick bit of sugar.
Post Match Meal
This should be a complete meal. It should contain a high amount of carbs, protein and vegetables. Something such as Lasagne with a salad is good after a match as you have a good mix of carbs and protein in the meat and pasta.
Supplements For Rugby
I would consider the most important supplements to take to be carbs and protein. You can get these in the form of a “weight gainer” or you can obtain pure protein and complex carbs and mix them to the amounts you want.
Glucosamine Sulphate is commonly taken by athletes including rugby players to aid with joint maintenance. Due to it’s high impact nature, there is a big strain on the joints.
Source by Supplement Centre