Eating before a match is an important part of being a successful athlete. No matter if a match is over in three sets or goes five sets, here are some fueling tips to make sure your body is ready to keep playing through the end.
Why is eating pre-match important?
- Ensures you will have energy to play the entire game
- Provides energy for your brain; allows for quick thinking on the court
What nutrients should you aim to include in the pre-match meal or snack?
- Carbohydrates: Fuel muscle contraction; primary focus of the meal
- Protein: Maintain muscle mass; moderate amount
- Fat: Important for satiety; a small to moderate amount
|When||Food Focus||Why||How Much?||Tips|
|Three hours before match||Carbs: bread, pasta, rice, starchy veggies, etc.|
Protein: chicken, turkey, tofu, etc.
Fat: avocado, peanut butter, etc.Ex:
|Three hours will allow plenty of time for digestion prior to the start of the match||Large meal that leaves you feeling full, but not stuffed||Avoid fiber rich foods, too much fat, and spicy foods that might cause GI stress|
|One hour before match||Carbs|
Small amount of proteinEx:
|A carb rich snack will top off muscle glycogen stores, making sure you are fully fueled for a match||Snack sized. As you get closer to match time, taper size of food intake||Try a smoothie! Liquids are easy to digest and will not leave you feeling too full before a match. Try our smoothie recipe below!|
|During match||Carbs |
|Carbs are easy to digest and will provide quick energy during a match||Small amount||Stock to foods you have tried in practice|
Multiple matches in a day? No sweat!
Eating between matches serves as both a recovery meal and a pre-game meal.
- Food focus: Carbohydrates and protein
- Why? Carbs are important to replenish the glycogen used in the previous match, and protein helps to preserve muscle mass.
- When choosing a meal, stick with foods that you know work well for you.
- Don’t try new foods on game days.
- Just because something works for your teammate does not mean it will work well for you; have your own game plan!
Green Tropical Smoothie
Makes one smoothie
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 small handful spinach
Nutrition: 280 kcal, 60g carbs, 13g protein
Instructions: Layer ingredients into blender, starting with the orange juice. Blend until thoroughly combined. Drink at least one hour prior to warm-ups.