Why Tennis Players should take care of what they eat?
- Recovery after heavy training
- Gives the right energy
- Helps to reach peak performance
- Prevents many disease/injuries/energy imbalance
Written by: Evgeny Korolev
The importance of calories:
- 15 calories loss for 1 min of play
- Can be 2-3Kg loss for a Match Play(depends on match intensity/weather conditions/players age/fitness level
- For most players a min of 2500 calories a day is recommended, can be 3000 calories as well
- For Pro Players are predicted to need between 3500-5000 Calories/day
What is a balanced diet?
- Necessary Nutrients:
- 60% carbohydrates- Cereals, Brown Rice, Pasta,Potatoes,Legumes,Fruits, Vegetables
- 10-15% Protein – Fish,Meat,Eggs,Dairy, poultry, nuts
- 20% Fats(30-40gr/day)- butter&oils(olive oil),nuts,olives,avocado,meat,fish, chocolate
- Minerals and Vitamins
What does an Ideal breakfast look like? What about before the match?
- Complex carbohydrates: whole wheat, oatmeal and low calorie fruits
- Small amount of Protein: egg white, Greek yogurt, milk
- Fruit Smoothie- easily digested, provide quick energy and hydrating
- Min 1,30 min before the Match/Play
- Avoid high sugar breakfasts: pancakes,muffins,cola,toast with Nutella – risk of feeling an energy crash in the middle of the match
- During the Match snack- BANANA! Dried fruit or little bit of raw nuts
What should you avoid immediately before a tennis match?
- Protein shakes – risk of digestive upset! Save Protein for after match recovery, it is a key for muscle recovery
- Caffeinated drinks- can be dehydrating and hard on the stomach
- Whole wheat pasta
- Nuts and seeds
What should you eat after the match?
- It is important to refuel your body with a healthy balance of nutrition within 2 hours
- For muscle recovery- high amount of lean protein: chicken,meat or fish, with carbohydrate and vegetables: whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole wheat(100% grain) bread, broccoli or salad.
Playing Tennis in the heat: How to manage your Electrolyte losses:
- Body produces heat during playing tennis, the best way to get rid of internal body heat during play is by sweating
- If it is hot and humid then sweating doesn’t eliminate heat effectively
- In WARM to HOT conditions most players lose between 1-2.5 liters of water during each hour of play
- In a very HOT weather conditions( above 95F)- 3.5 liters per hour
- Sweat is mostly water, but it contains a fair amount of Sodium, Chloride and potassium electrolytes
- Clinical evidence clearly supports a relationship between heat related muscle cramps and a high sodium loss
- The best treatment for heat-related muscle cramps is adequate salt and fluid intake, not potassium or any potassium-rich food (such as bananas).
- Good hydration habits not only help a player to perform better on the court, but also help to reduce the risk of heat illness.
- Drink water minimum every 15 minutes
- For each 1kg weight you lose after activity, you have to drink about 1.5litres of fluid.
- You should bring about three 0.5 Liter bottles of sport drink and at least two 0.5 Liter bottles of water on court for EACH match. Alternate between drinking sports drink and water on EVERY change over.
- In hot and humid environments, you should bring additional bottles of sport drinks and water on court for matches. You will be sweating more, and will have more fluid losses to make up.
- A good alternative to sugar filled sports drinks is coconut water which is loaded with electrolytes and potassium.
- Dehydration leads to a decrease in performance.
- As little as 1% loss of body weight can significantly affect performance. A loss of more than 3% of body weight is dangerous. This can lead to life-threatening heat illness and heatstroke.
When you feel thirsty, you are already 1-2% dehydrated… when it may be too late to catch up!
- For hot and humid environments, all players may add 1 packet of salt to each 0.5litre bottle of sport drink.
- If you don’t like the taste of salt in your drink… you can add extra salt to your food, try drinking tomato juice or add soy sauce to your food
Keep it simple: Eat a varied and balanced diet and choose a sports drink that provides water and electrolytes rapidly and effectively