When you play rugby regularly or professionally, you need to eat for maximum performance. Training is one aspect, but nutrition forms the other half of the equation. No two players will be on the same diet as gone are the days of a diet plan for a whole squad. The focus these days is on tailored, bespoke diet plans for each individual’s requirements. Here are some handy hints for improving your nutrition for rugby:
Nutrition isn’t something that you tweak instantly for short term success. It’s a long game, a strategy for you to achieve maximum fitness and the best body mass over time. Two days before a match is not the best time to start experimenting with a new diet. Your body will need time to adjust and for you to be able tweak the diet in case anything disagrees with you.
Plenty of taste and variety
There is not one single superfood that you must eat endlessly, there’s plenty of scope for variety and taste. It’s important to focus on groups of foods but these are wide enough to enjoy many different tastes and textures. If there’s a particular food you should have but just can’t stand, find something else that offers the same benefits. Don’t force yourself to eat stuff you detest. As well as starting a new training diet, why not incorporate some new Rugby Training drill videos into your repertoire? For inspiration, see Rugby Training drill videos available online at sportplan.net/drills/rugby
Importance of rehydration
Many of us are guilty of not drinking enough water and yet it’s the most important substance we must put into our bodies. If you’re unsure of the right fluid intake, measure yourself before and after a training session. The difference is what you should be replacing and again by a half. This is even more vital if you have training or matches on consecutive days to prevent dehydration. Try to avoid overly salty food and drinking too much alcohol, which can both add to dehydration.
Focus on foods not supplements
Remember that supplements are to ‘supplement’ a diet, not replace it. If you have any nutritional deficiencies, these should be dealt with through the right foods. When you take a supplement instead of eating food from a certain food group, you could be missing out on essential anti-oxidants.
What are your goals?
There are different diet focuses depending on what you want to achieve. Maximising diets are for those who want to gain muscle mass, maintaining diets are for those who want to maintain optimum muscle mass and minimising diets for those looking to reduce body fat. Knowing which one is for you will mean a better diet plan that’s right for you.
Don’t leave out food groups
Whether you are maximising, maintaining or minimising – a good diet should include food from every food group. It can be tempting to eliminate a food group, for example carbs to leave more room for protein, but you need some from all 5 groups – fruit, vegetables, cereal, milk, meat (or veggie alternative) and fats. Carbs are a crucial source of energy and without carbs, your body will burn protein for energy instead.