The Rugby Diet Plan
You train hard and practice your skills but you just can’t achieve the level of fitness and the physique you need to make the impact on the pitch that you should be making. Maybe you even follow the fitness regimes of some of the world’s best players, but there is still something missing. If this sounds like you, then chances are that you need to look at your diet.
Top athletes today focus as much on their diet as they do on other aspects of their training and if you are to be at your best then you have to watch what and when you eat and drink. Proper nutrition is a key aspect of the lives of all elite athletes and rugby players are no exception.
Rugby players need a high-energy diet. This has four basic elements:
Proteins – essential for building muscle, maintaining the body and transporting nutrients around the body, proteins can be obtained from dairy foods, fish, poultry, eggs and red meat.
Carbohydrates – these provide the body with energy and protect the muscles from deterioration. You get them from pastas, breads, dairy products and fruit and vegetables.
Fats – unsaturated fats provide fuel for the body and protect the vital organs. You can get them from fish, nuts and various oils like canola, sunflower and soybean.
Liquids – it is vital that you remain properly hydrated throughout the day. Water is best and should be taken at intervals rather than all at once.
A sample diet
As a rough guide, during the season and when you are in training you should aim to take in about 1.5 to 2 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbohydrate for each kilogram of body weight. You should reduce your carbohydrate intake by about half during the off-season or non-training days to avoid unwanted weight gains. You need to spread your meals evenly and take in plenty of fluids.
Breakfast (7.00 – 9.00)
Large bowl of cereal with milk (preferably skimmed), fruit juice, yoghurt, two slices of wholegrain toast, tea or coffee.
Elevenses (10.30 – 11.30)
Three or four oatcakes with cottage cheese or a wholegrain sandwich made with lean chicken or tuna, piece of fruit and/or fruit juice.
Lunch (12.30 – 13.30)
Large potato or pasta with green vegetables and mixed beans and lean meat or fish like salmon, fruit juice.
Fresh fruit and fruit juice
Early evening (about 45 -60 minutes prior to training)
Carbohydrates from pasta, rice or oatcakes, fruit juice
Dinner (around 45 – 60 minutes after training)
Boiled potatoes, rice or pasta, fresh vegetables, lean meat (chicken, beef or fish), piece of fruit, fruit juice.
A small protein snack (snack bar or nuts) with fruit juice.
Points to remember
Every player is different so the sample diet above will not be for everyone. You’ll have your own personal likes and dislikes and you’ll have to adjust quantities to suit your needs. It is important to remember that you need to load up on carbohydrates before games or training sessions but reduce intake when you are not in serious training. Proteins are essential post-exercise to help your body recover and regular fluids are a must. AND, most important, you should get professional advicebefore starting on any diet regime.
This article first appeared in the Canterbury Website