Are you a sportsman? If not don’t worry. This is for attempted sportsmen (like myself) too.
The following advice is as much for Dads, Saturday morning footballers and Sunday village cricketers as it is for Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane. At the end of the day we’re all the same – except for the fifty grand a week pay cheques.
Whatever your favourite sporting pastime, and whatever your level, it’s important to watch what you eat on match day. In fact, it’s actually important to be careful throughout the whole week. You’re not going to perform well if you’ve had ten pints and a kebab the night beforehand.
The dietary choices you make before, during and after sport can have a big impact on your performance, recovery and general fitness. Here’s what I’ve discovered with a little help from the maxinutrition website.
I’m afraid that your usual cheese croissant with a side of kippers isn’t going to cut it. Go for a low-GI cereal like porridge instead. Alternatively you could do worse than eating eggs – they’re high in protein and will make you feel fuller for longer.
Try your eggs with rye bread rather than fried bacon. Whatever you do, don’t eat too much though. If you’re still hungry eat a banana and avoid fibre – it takes ages to digest.
If your match starts after 2.30 then you’ve got time for lunch. Make it a light one though. My personal nutritionist (also known as my wife) recommends some wholemeal pasta with carrots and leafy greens.
Once again look for low-GI carbohydrates and drink plenty of water or isotonic drinks rather than black coffee. If you lose just 2% of your body weight through sweating you’ll feel knackered in no time. Your focus will also wander.
If you’ve eaten lunch you shouldn’t really need to snack before kick-off. But if you can’t resist filling your face – you greedy porker – eat some low-fat yoghurt or even better a granola bar.
To be honest it’s far more important to stay hydrated at this point though. Grab some more water or maybe even some orange juice. The latter has potassium, which helps your muscles.
After the match
You’ve lost 6-0 and your muscles hurt. Sound familiar? Perhaps you play for Aston Villa. Either way it’s important to rehydrate straight away.
Drinking the right fluids will help you to recover and ease your aches and pains. Drinks containing antioxidants, carbs and protein are good for this sort of thing.
I hate to be a killjoy but it’s best to eschew the post-match curry with mates. If you want act like a pro then cook some turkey-based chilli-con-carne or sushi. Even better get someone else to cook it for you. Tell them anything that’s rich in protein and omega 3 will do.
As for a post-match tipple I heartily recommend a pint of Drambuie. Just kidding. Alcohol is best avoided if you want to be the new David Beckham. If you want to be the new Paul Gascoigne though, be my guest.