Nutrition plays an important role in helping improve the performance of a player. Make a proper nutritional plan for the best results to stay ahead of your competitors. Rugby training, whether it is plyometrics, sprinting, interval or weights, needs a greater level of energy for a good performance. The same is the case with rugby matches. You can fulfil your energy requirement by talking a diet rich in:
Carbohydrates: The intake of carbohydrates for a professional player depends upon the glycaemic index present in the food. It is best to consume high glycaemic index items, such as confectionary stuff, fruits and glucose drinks, shortly before exercise. Low glycaemic index foods such as pasta, brown rice and wholemeal breads, should be consumed as part of your meal to get constant energy.
Fat: Rugby players are in need for a sufficient and healthy amount of fat in their food. Too much and unnecessary fat obstructs performance and too little fat results in muscle soreness and increases the injury level. The body fat acts as a cushion that protects the body from hard hits. You can get the required fat from meat, fish, nuts and dairy products. However, make sure, you take fat in a well balanced way to recover the lost energy.
Protein: Protein should be taken in a rather high order so as to maintain muscle mass and aid the recovery process. The rich protein sources include chicken, tuna and turkey.
Vitamins and Minerals: Rugby players are in need for a large amount of vitamins and minerals for better recovery. For vitamins and minerals, you should eat good amount of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, banana, apples and eggplant, which also provide fibre and complex carbohydrates.
What Should a Rugby Player Consume Before the Match?
- Take a large breakfast full of good level of carbohydrates, fat and protein such as cereals, fruit, omelettes and high quality meats.
- Do not take salty foods at least a day before the game as it may result in dehydration. Also avoid heavy food that takes hours to get digested by the body.
- Players, who feel stressed and so cannot eat, must eat something. Otherwise their condition will further worse in the game. They should take a high fibre diet that will help them with their upset stomach caused by stress.
- Drink a lot of water to maintain the Hydration level to the maximum. At least a day before a match, avoid taking diuretics and alcohol. Take a small quantity of lunch and about three hours before start consume a low glycaemic index meal like cereal and pasta which will give constant energy for the match. About half an hour before the game; consume a small quantity of high glycaemic index food like glucose drink or chocolate bar which will provide immediate energy.
What Should a Rugby Player Consume After the Match?
- The meal rich in both carbohydrates and protein should be taken as it will replenish and restore the energy.
- Take a small quantity of salt to prevent cramping of muscles.
- Drink water as dehydration can occur.
Useful Supplements for Rugby Players:
Creatine is very beneficial for rugby players as it provides them some extra gain in weight, stamina and great explosive power for the game or training. Under-18 players should take advice from their coach on using creatine.
Glucosamine is taken by rugby players to help with their joint repair so as to avoid the troublesome joint ache. It is usually taken with meals and you can continue taking it all the year round.
Protein Shakes are great for helping with the recovery required after heavy training sessions and matches.
Multivitamins must be taken by the rugby players to build and replenish their body with the required nutrients.
There are many other supplements available that are beneficial. IRB have banned many of the sports supplements for the rugby players, such as Prohormones and ephedrine, which are even illegal to buy from shops. Even a high dosage of caffeine is also banned for the players. You must check the supplement, whether it is legal or not as per the IRB, so to maintain the dignity and respect for the game.