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Nutrition for rugby

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Is your nutrition ready for kick-off?

No matter how much training you do, it’s important to have a healthy well-balanced diet to support your training goals and fulfil you rugby potential.

Take a look at our training and matchday macros below, for guidance on what your nutrition should consist of, to support performance.

Training

The type of training you’re doing will determine the type of foods you should be eating. If you are taking part in resistance or low intensity training, you’ll require fewer carbohydrates than someone who is doing longer, more intense sessions.

Professional rugby players tend to eat five smaller meals instead of the typical three meals a day. More frequent meals throughout the day helps support players during training sessions.

While training, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet. You should consume items from all food groups, especially carbohydrates and protein.

Carbohydrates

Good sources of carbohydrates include:

  1. Bananas
  2. Cereal
  3. Pasta
  4. Rice
  5. Potatoes

The amount of carbohydrates you require will depend on your current body weight. During intense training periods, you should try to eat between five to seven grams of carbohydrates for each kilogram of body weight. You should reduce this amount during lighter workout sessions or rest days.

Protein

The following foods are great sources of protein:

  1. Meat
  2. Eggs
  3. Milk
  4. Baked Beans

During training, you should try to eat around 1.4 to 2 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight.

We recommend that you consume it shortly after finishing your training session. This will help to replenish your protein levels and maintain and develop your muscles. Protein shakes are a great way of doing this as they can help you to rebuild muscle tissue after exercise and support muscle maintenance. For more on protein sources, check out our article on 'what is high-quality protein'.

Match day

When match day arrives, it’s important to eat right. Try to stick to the usual balanced dietary plan before big games and avoid foods that you’d usually consume.

What you eat will depend on the time of your match:

Pre-noon kick off

Breakfast

It’s important you get a good level of slow releasing carbohydrate, protein and fat before a game. We recommend eating two of the following around three to four hours before the game:

  1. Large bowl of porridge with milk, honey and fruit
  2. Scrambled egg on whole grain toast
  3. A cereal that is high in fibre served with banana, honey and milk.
  4. Ham omelette served on whole grain toast
  5. Yoghurt, orange juice and a portion of dried fruit

Pre-match snack

Around an hour before the match, you should consume a snack that can be easily digested. One snack from the following is a good idea:

  1. Cereal bars
  2. Banana
  3. Pancakes with jam or honey
  4. White bread

Try to drink orange juice or a sports energy drink too. Something with added sugary is not essential but having that sugar rush before kick-off could be the perfect way to start a game.

Half time

During half time, try the following:

  1. Isotonic sports drinks or squash.
  2. Jaffa Cakes, jelly sweets or a cereal bar

During half time, try to consume foods or drinks that are high in carbohydrates. Players have been experimenting more and more with caffeine during the break. Just to ensure that they are 100% ready to go again for the second half. For more on caffeine, take a look at our ingredient section.

Post-match

Within thirty minutes of leaving the field, you should try to consume a meal that is high in protein and carbohydrates. Any of the following would be a good choice:

  1. A serving of Maximuscle Progain which contains 37g protein to help re-build muscles after the game, and 54g carbohydrate.
  2. At least 200ml of drinking yoghurt and a banana
  3. Ham, peanut butter or jam sandwich made with white bread
  4. Flavoured milk and cereal bar
  5. Yoghurt with raisins or sultanas

Don’t forget to drink lots of water too!

Post-noon kick off

If your match is in the afternoon, you should follow the tips above but also eat lunch. Prepare a large serving of carbohydrates like basmati rice, brown pasta or potatoes, and serve with lean meat like chicken or tuna. You could include a low fat sauce too.


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