Proper Nutrition: What Do Tennis Players Eat?
We are in a time in which tennis players are becoming more and more athletic and going to their outer limits. We have often seen matches last for several hours, but the players still stay in top shape. So you ask yourself: “How do they manage to keep up their performance for such a long time?”
One of their recipes for success is a balanced diet, among other things. All meals are designed in such a way that they are perfectly adapted to the needs of the body. This not only ensures better performance, but also more well-being on the court.
One could almost say that players with an adapted diet have a competitive advantage over those who don’t think of it. It does not matter whether you are a beginner or a tournament player. After all, the goal is to improve your own tennis game.
That’s why we are looking today at which foods have proven themselves in the tennis world. In addition, we will give you a few tips that you can use to create your own nutrition plan.
The basic prerequisite for top performance on the court is a sufficient supply of nutrients. You can tell which foods are best suited to your needs by looking at the ingredients and their relationship to each other. In addition, the length of time the individual meals remain in the stomach plays a major role. Overall, you should pay attention to these three nutrients:
Carbohydrates generally serve as the main supplier of energy. They are, so to speak, the fuel for your muscles and organs. Before you play tennis, you should consume enough carbohydrates so that your body doesn’t get tired in the middle of the match. On the other hand, the amount should not be too large, otherwise you will become sluggish and tired.
After a strenuous training or match, your muscles first need to regenerate. Proteins support you in this process. Besides repairing, proteins help to build and maintain your muscles. However, you cannot use them as a source of energy.
Vitamins should of course also be part of a balanced diet. By taking vitamins, you not only protect your immune system, but also ensure a functioning metabolism. So make sure that your meals contain a certain amount of fruit and vegetables.
In principle, you should never go to the tennis court without a drinking bottle. As in all sports, drinking is of existential importance when playing tennis. Because you sweat during the rallies, your body loses a lot of fluid. Over time, this lack of fluid can lead to tiredness and exhaustion. Therefore, balance your fluid balance regularly.
Basically, you have the choice between two different types of drinks:
For example, water is considered a hypotonic drink. It contains electrolytes and trace elements which have a positive effect on the performance of your muscles. As water does not contain carbohydrates, this drink is more suitable for shorter training sessions where your body is not so stressed.
If you want to train longer or if you have a match coming up, an isotonic drink is clearly the better choice. Besides electrolytes, this drink consists mainly of carbohydrates. In comparison to water, the absorption of fluids takes place much faster. A further advantage is that you can refuel with new energy through the carbohydrates.
3. Nutrition Plan
As promised, there are now a few tips for your own nutrition plan. We’ll show you with a concrete example what your diet could look like on a match day.
Before the Match
In general, it is important that you replenish your carbohydrate stores sufficiently before the match. If possible, start eating carbohydrate-rich foods the day before the match. The energy will still be stored in your body until tomorrow.
The next day you will also need carbohydrates. Depending on when your match starts, breakfast or lunch should be about 3 hours before the match. Please take into account that you do not eat any food that is difficult to digest.
The following foods are suitable before the match begins:
During the Match
Once you arrive in the match, you must be careful that your body does not dehydrate. For this reason, you should take a few sips of water with every rally. Alternatively, you can take an isotonic electrolyte drink with you.
Small snacks are also quite helpful for the energy intake during breaks. Probably the best known among tennis players is the banana. But popular snacks are also energy bars or so-called energy gels.
After the Match
After an intense match your body has lost a lot of water. Therefore you should definitely refill your fluid reservoir.
In case you have another match the following day, your body has to recover relatively quickly. To help your muscles regenerate, take a protein-rich snack after about 30 minutes.
About 2 hours after the match, you will finally strengthen yourself with a meal of 80% carbohydrates and 20% protein.