As we head into peak rugby season, we share some pre-game tips for you and your team to make sure you are well-prepared. The right choices can make all the difference.
The day before
24 hours before the game avoid diuretics such as coffee and alcohol as well as salt, since these may lead to dehydration. Instead prepare your body by drinking water.
Three hours before
Eat a wholesome, healthy meal that is easily digested. Your meal should contain slow- releasing carbohydrates that are lower in gluten and fibre, in conjunction with lean proteins.
- Choices for slow releasing carbohydrates include sweet potato, spinach, tomato and broccoli.
- Low gluten and fibre foods include gluten-free wraps or pasta, sweet corn and quinoa.
- Eggs are the leanest proteins available and are best scrambled, poached or boiled.
- Other protein options include lean beef(mince), chicken, fish or dairy products.
Don’t leave this to less than three hours before the game as your body needs time to break down the food into energy to give you the stamina you need.
The hour before
Keep hydrated! Make sure you are having plenty of water and/or a sports drink in the hour before your game.
Having a simple snack will ensure you are not exercising on a full stomach but are not already hungry by half-time. This should be something small, high GI and low in fat, so it is quickly digested and absorbed into your system.
Ideas for pre-game snacks:
- toast or rice cake with peanut butter
- yogurt and fruit salad
- glucose bar/drink
- fruit smoothie
During game time
Keep drinking water while you play as staying hydrated is crucial to your performance. Sports drinks will also help to keep your energy levels up during the game. Your trainer or nutritionist may be able to assist you and your team by designing a specific rehydration strategy for before, during and after a game.
After the victory is secured
The food you eat after a game is key to your recovery. You should eat something within 30 minutes of finishing the game, and have a proper meal within the two to three hours following this. Proteins are essential for muscle recovery and carbohydrates are necessary to get your energy levels back up; these should definitely be on your post-game plate. Adding a little extra salt also helps to prevent muscle cramping.
Don’t get caught out on the simple things; consider these pre-game tips this rugby season and you could make it your best season yet!