When it comes to getting the best possible performance on the pitch there are several things you can do to improve. The obvious things are practicing the skills and working the muscle groups you need, but without a good diet this can be seriously hindered.
You need to make sure that you are getting all the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals to encourage muscle growth and repair as well as general good health. Here are all the core ingredients a rugby player’s diet should entail:
This doesn’t just mean a steak dinner once a week and ensuring that you have meat at every meal. While this is still very beneficial, if you are pushing yourself hard on a regular basis then you should start using protein shakes. Whey protein is a very popular type of protein drink as it can help your muscles to recover much faster and therefore increase your overall power. [Source]
Ideally you want to be consuming around 2g of protein per kg of body weight after each strenuous session. This will give your body the best chance to repair and recover, therefore helping you to gain bulk and increase your power potential.
Yes, you read that right. Fat, well unsaturated fat, is good for you and is essential in a rugby player’s diet. Fat carries a lot of benefits that can seriously help you in the hard contact, high intensity sport such as:
- Protecting your vital organs
- Positively affect health
- Brilliant long term fuel source – ideal for when you’re in the 70th minuet
While this is all a very positive review of fat in the diet, make sure that you don’t have a high intake of it before or after exercise as this can hinder muscle growth. [Source]
These fad diets where you cut out carbs from your diet are great for losing weight to go to the beach, but are beyond useless for rugby players. Carbs are energy and you need as much energy as you can get when training or competing. Make sure you are taking on healthy carbohydrates such as cereal, whole-wheat bread, muesli bars, rice, pasta, potatoes and fruit. [Source]
Carbs help you to have more energy when exercising, lets you recover much faster and not feel so tired afterwards. It is always best to take in lots of carbohydrates before and after any intense activity to give yourself the best performances. Similarly to protein, you want to be eating around 7g of carbs for every kg of bodyweight to recover from intense exercise.
Eat Your Veg
Vegetables are often neglected in a rugby player’s diet plan, but they really shouldn’t be. Vegetables contain important nutrients and vitamins that assist in muscle development and repair. In addition to this they help your body to fight off illnesses which could damage your performance and prevent you training to your full potential. [source]
We all love a beer, but if you are playing at a high level then you simply cannot afford the disadvantages it brings with it. Alcohol can lead to poor recovery and repair of injury and can add unwanted excess weight. It also has dehydrating properties which can affect the performance of your muscles and make your reactions slower. Make sure you are taking on plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise as well as a healthy amount of water throughout the day. [Source]
It is important to remember that a diet needs to be specifically tailored to your own needs and demands. Only a practiced sports dietician can give you a tailored diet plan, but this list will let you know what type of things you should be eating and drinking. Creating a general diet plan is easy to do and can be highly effective when compared to not changing your diet to adapt to your needs.
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