Knowing what to eat and drink, as well as knowing when to eat and drink can make the difference between winning and losing, on court. Christine Tardif, one of NutriProCan Registered Dietitians who is specialized in sports nutrition has developed an example nutrition plan for tennis that is sure to get you excited when it comes to fuelling for victory!
Tennis can be unpredictable in many respects – match schedules depend on previous matches being completed and match duration can vary from 45 minutes up to 4 hours, or more! The key to nutrition success for tennis is being prepared!
Trends we tend to see in tennis players that negatively affect performance often to relate to low energy and carbohydrate intake as well as suboptimal hydration. This can affect performance by increasing fatigue levels, slowing recovery between matches or tournaments, making the body more prone to injury and decreasing the efficiency of the immune system.
Make sure your body is well-nourished while training as well as leading up to and during competition. Pay attention to your hydration levels, especially if you are travelling for competition.
Example Nutrition Plan For Tennis
- 3-4 hours: a regular balanced meal, containing protein, carbs and fat. Example: chicken wrap on whole wheat pita with veggies and hummus, apple and yogurt.
- 15-60 minutes: Kashi granola bar or banana with low-fat yogurt.
- Drink 100-200 MLs at each changeover (water or sports drink).
- 250 ML sports drink every 30 minutes or as needed.
- Less than 30 minutes after: a small snack, containing carb and protein. Example: Smoothie: 1 frozen banana, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or 1 scoop protein.
- Less than 2 hours after: a regular balanced meal, containing protein, carbs and fat. Example: 1 cup whole wheat pasta with grilled chicken and veggies, side salad, apple.
Between Matches/Training Sessions:
- Less than an hour: fluids (water or sports drink).
- 1-2 hours: a small snack, mainly carbohydrate (low fibre, low fat). Example: 1 piece of fruit or 1/2 PB&J sandwich.
- 2 hours or more: a large snack, containing carbohydrate and protein. Example: PB&J sandwich or granola bar and yogurt
Additional Food Group Examples:
- Carbs: sports drink, energy chews/carbohydrate gels, granola bars, cereal & milk, rice cakes.
- Carb + protein: protein shakes/bars, chocolate milk + granola bar, cottage cheese + fruit, apple + nut butter.
- Carb + protein + fat: sandwich (bread + meat + cheese + vegetables), Greek yogurt (with fruit, granola and nuts), smoothie (with protein), hummus (with pitas and vegetables).
Extra Nutrition Tips For Tennis Players:
- Do not try anything new in competition (in case you react adversely).
- Foods high in fibre and/or high in fat tend to slow digestion and can cause digestive upset if consumed too close to competition/training.
- Don’t forget to hydrate! Proper hydration will help avoid cramps and heat exhaustion. Get tasty hydration tips by an RD: http://bit.ly/NutriProCan-Hydration-Tips