Tennis nutrition top tips
Needless to say, consuming a healthy, varied and well balanced diet will go a long way to maximising your performance on the court. However, if nothing else, focussing on fluid and carbohydrate intake will immediately impact performance.
- Research shows that many players begin matches or practice dehydrated to some degree.
- During training or competition, sweat losses can reach 1-2.5 liters per hour.
- Dehydration in excess of 2%, or the perception of thirst, can have a negative effect on performance.
- Many players do not rehydrate adequately after training or competition.
- Drink 1.5 – 2 litres of fluid (and foods containing fluid such as soup, fruit and vegetables) throughout the day.
- Drink regularly during training and competition, avoiding the feeling of thirst.
- After a match or training session, begin rehydrating by drinking 500 ml of fluid within the first hour and monitoring urine colour.
- Adequate carbohydrate intake is crucial to optimal performance.
- Carbohydrate utilization is greater as intensity of play increases and when a player competes or trains in the heat.
- Assuming a player fuels adequately before exercise, they have enough energy to sustain intense exercise for 60-90 minute. After which, carbohydrate is required to delay the onset of fatigue.
- A tennis player requires a balanced diet containing nutrient dense carbohydrates such as wholegrains, pulses, grains, fruit and vegetables.
- Carbohydrates should be consumed around training and competition and reduced during down time.
- During high intensity sessions and sessions lasting longer than 60-90 minutes, players should consume about 30-60 g of carbohydrate per hour during play and practice.
- Foods and sport drinks with a high glycemic index can be particularly effective for providing rapid carbohydrate energy or restoration immediately during and after play or practice.
All players differ in what foods and which nutritional strategies they can tolerate and perform well with. New foods, drinks, or other dietary strategies should be practiced in training before competition.