Maintaining a healthy eating plan that can fuel your tennis workouts and matches, whilst helping you to recover for your next training session should a priority of any serious tennis player or enthusiast.
Tennis is a game that requires sustained energy over a period of time, that consists of many intense periods, or bursts, followed by short rests intervals. Therefore, a player’s choice in diet should compliment this and this should be carefully managed in order to give the player maximum chances of success.
Serious tennis players should consume complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain pasta and rice (always choose brown over white) around 2-3 hours before embarking on any intense exercise. Eating carbohydrates of this nature will cause a slow release of energy, which perfectly compliments the nature of tennis, as a match requires sustained energy over long durations of up to 3 or even 5 hours, depending on the type of tournament!
We now live in a society that places great emphasis on the value of protein, but typically, this information is heard predominantly within the fitness or bodybuilding circles. However, all sports need to take notice of this to some extent, as foods or supplements high in protein contain the key building blocks for effective muscle and tissue repair.
Tennis is now more physical than it has ever been. This is true both in terms of training and also the sheer strength required to compete at a high level both at the amateur level and on tour. You’ve only got to take a quick look at Rafael Nadal’s bulging biceps to see he’s not shy of taking a protein shake or two!
Start implementing more recovery protein drinks into your pre and post workout routines as well as lean protein meats, such as turkey and white fish, throughout the day and you’ll certainly see a difference in your recovery levels.
You’ll often see the professionals snacking on a banana or consuming energy gels during their matches. Earlier in the article, we discussed the value of complex carbohydrates for sustained, slow release energy. However, it’s also important for the body to receive fast release, high impact sugar-based carbohydrates before and during exercise.
Players will consume these types of foods both 30 minutes before, then at regular intervals during matches.
Professional Player Diets
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of diets in tennis, or even in sport, entirely, is Novak Djokovic. Prior to the radical changes he made to his diet in 2010, he was renown for collapsing during a match or having to retire from matches. After eliminating all the foods he was intolerant to – most notably, gluten, he has now transformed himself into one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
For serious amateur players, it’s unlikely that a simple switch in diet will lead to a Grand Slam victory! However, there is a lot to learn from the Djokovic example. Perhaps, you have some food intolerances too. Pinpointing these could certainly help you to take your game to the next level and win more matches over time!
Taking Your Game NEXT LEVEL
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