Nutrition is extremely important to the human body especially for athletes. Nutrition/food supplies our body with nutrients, providing a source of energy to carry out day to day activities and training.
The type of food consumed can affect factors such as performance, ability, recovery, strength, etc... Timing of which food is eaten can also alter the factors previously stated. Depending on the time food is eaten before and after exercise, can negatively or positively affect the way the body performs and recovers.
The most important meals in sports nutrition are before (pre) and after (post) exercise. Typically, you should consume something high in carbohydrates, low fat and low-moderate protein, approximately 2hrs before exercise. It is highly beneficial that carbohydrates are eaten pre training session as it is the main source of energy that generates your body, especially during physical activity.
However, post training we want a meal high in protein and low- moderate in carbohydrate. Protein helps to assist muscle repair and growth therefore, will build muscle faster. Carbohydrate is also important as it will replace what is lost during training enabling a faster recovery.
You should aim to have something within a 2-hour time period after exercise. However, remember that the sooner you consume your post training meal/snack the quicker your your body can begin to recover and replace glycogen stores.
We also recommend water to be consumed after exercise as it replenish what was sweated out during your workout and helps bodily fluid move round more efficiently and prevents dehydration, again increasing recovery.
Therefore, by consuming the right ratio of macronutrient groups (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) pre and post training, you will increase your recovery rate. This has a flow on effect as you can train more but still maintain your optimal performance level, training more effectively and efficiently.
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Below are some questions/examples regarding nutrition pre/post game and trainings answered by SKYCITY Mystics netball player:
Within the 3 hours leading up to a game what do you eat/consume?
For my pre-game, I would generally eat something that’s carb heavy but more low GI. My go to is peanut butter on 2 slices of Vogels grainy bread with banana on top. I might top this up with a pottle of yogurt or an Up & Go. It also depends on what time the game is. This would be on top of lunch, granted that we are playing a 7pm game.
After a game what do you eat/consume?
After a game, I would have a protein shake (30g) within 20 minutes of finishing and some sort of carbohydrate - would normally be a banana or banana bread or something easy. If I'm organized I would make a smoothie with carbohydrate blended into it so I could have it all in one go. I would then just carry on normal routine and have a SMALL dinner afterwards (Never really that hungry after a game).
What do you typically eat before and after trainings, if different to game day?
Before and after trainings I would stick to normal meals (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks) and only really top up if I needed to or felt hungry. Before training I would have something with a substantial amount of carbs, e.g. eggs on toast or something with noodles or rice etc. I always have protein after training (Shake) and some sort of carbohydrate (e.g. Banana)