Following a healthy balanced diet is essential for reaching peak fitness within any sport. However, some sports require additional attention to diet and intake of particular food groups to minimise impact on the body. Rugby is one example where nutrition is of the utmost importance. As a sport it generates severe muscular impact. Consequently rugby players require a nutritionally balanced diet for energy and endurance but must also ensure that they intake enough protein to ensure adequate muscle building. This is something that has become even more important in recent years as the impetus has become greater for professional rugby players to be bigger, stronger and faster. Whether this has lead to far more injuries is another debate altogether.
When training, a healthy rugby player’s diet should be high in energy, eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day to help with recovery from training and maintain metabolism. It is important to increase intake of carbohydrates (fibre-rich cereals, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and fruit) and protein (fish, meat, lentils) to help with muscle gain. Healthy snacks should be high in fibre and low in fat (fruit like bananas, cereal bars, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, smoothies). Also try some quick light meals like chicken salads, grilled fish and rice or jacket potatoes with tuna.
Most importantly, rugby players must ensure that they are accounting for the impact of the sport both before and after a training session or game. They must increase energy rich foods before the game for endurance, and carbohydrate and protein rich foods afterwards to repair and rebuild muscle. It is not untypical for a 90 kilo player to be consuming 4,000 – 5,000 calories per day. Inevitably this will assisted by sports supplements. Below are some typical meals and supplements a rugby player might use:
Pre-Game / Training Session:
- Have a carbohydrate rich meal like pasta and meat/fish the night before training.
- Maintain high protein levels every day at 1g of protein per 1kg of bodyweight. Use a mass building shake like Maximuscle Progain Extreme, CNP Pro Mass, BSN Syntha-6 or Boditronics Profusion.
- Drinks plenty of fluids in the prior 24 hours and during training. A carbohydrate and energy drink like Maximuscle Viper is essential to ensure the player remains hydrated stocked with carbohydrates before and during training,
- Have a high-carb snack like a banana or protein bar 1-2 hours before the game.
Post-Game / Training (Recovery):
- Have a carbohydrate and also protein rich meal following the game to ensure the body can repair and re-build muscle. Calories are important here. After the exertion of a game or training session the body will be calling out for both carbohydrates and protein.
- Again use a mass building shake like Maximuscle Progain Extreme, CNP Pro Mass, BSN Syntha-6 or Boditronics Profusion.
- Drinks plenty of fluid – including a sports drink like Maximuscle Viper immediately following the game
- Players must also ensure that they are drinking enough fluid throughout the day – at least 1.5 – 2 litres – and in-taking additional fluids either water or a sports energy drink) before and after a training session or game.
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