WHAT YOU NEED TO EAT!
The first consideration is what you want – muscle mass – weight loss or physical endurance.
As regards tennis – you do not need to build up large muscles – you need to be fit and have a toned body – but muscles are not used, as such,
for the game of tennis.
We will however, look at the variations.
Building muscles: For increasing muscular strength you will need protein and therefore it is necessary to eat foods containing protein; such as:-
meat, fish, dairy products and pulses during your pre-exercise meal.
Then after you have finished your workout you need a good sports drink containing carbs and protein – these will help the growth of the
muscles and reduce muscle breakdown.
Endurance sports such as tennis. You willneed slow release carbohydrates like bananas – avocados – wholegrains and muesli. When doing
endurance exercises the muscle building genes are stopped, therefore you cannot expect to build muscles and improve cardiovascular fitness
Weight loss is a minefield and there are many differing views, so this article will not deal with this particular area.
For Athletic performance it is important to eat within two hours of your exercise so that carbohydrates are used to replenish the stores of
Antioxidants – when exercising regularly it is wise to get a good supply of antioxidanrts from your food or drink, the more intense you workout
the more you should consume, and Vitamins A, C and E, minerals zinc and selenium and also omega-3 fatty acids are powerful antioxidants
that protect the damage caused by free radicals. Keep in mind that vitamins are of little use without minerals.
It is equal important to maintain good hydration, just 2 per cent dehydration can reduce performance by 10 per cent. A nutritionalist friend of
mine has tested tennis players by having one drinking between change overs and the other not at all, the change in skills etc., was dramatic in
the player not drinking. However, a balance is required, as too much water can be equally detrimental.
THE FOODS THAT YOU EAT CAN HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT ON YOUR STAMINA – PRECISION AND STRENGTH
Tennis specific nutrition.
Before – During & After Your Tennis Match.
It is important to eat something before a match and the timing of this is also very important.
You should go for a light, high-energy snack before a game in order to prepare the body for vigorous exercise and quick sharp reactions.
It is equally important to not play on a full stomach, therefore eat at least 30 to 60 minutes before a game.
Make a super nutritious shake containing banana, oats, cinnamon and milk. An alternative is two boiled eggs with wholemeal toast.
Eggs are rich in lecithin which is an important nutrient for the brain that may assist hand-to-eye co-ordination and fast reflexes
During the match, drink water or apple/orange juice at every change over – you can drink up to half a litre during a match. By the time you feel
thirsty – it is already too late, as you are already dehydrating.
When the match is over, you will need to replenish your body with a good meal containing a nutritional balance of carbs, protein, oil and
vitamins. Choose an open sandwich on rye bread with avocado, roast chicken and olive oil plus a cup of herbal tea.