Nutritional Tips for Tennis Players

Nutritional Tips for Tennis Players (Source: Advanced Techniques for Competitive Tennis by Richard Schönborn):

Carbohydrates, serving as the fuel for a player’s muscles, should be consumed at a rate of 6 grams per kilogram of body weight daily. For example, a 60 kg player would require 360 grams of carbohydrates

What to eat?

-Starch, from cereals needs a long time to be available as an energy supply. Sugar is available faster. ex. Bread with jam is ideal for planning the supply of energy.

-Before and after training, fat prevents the rapid utilization of carbohydrates. Fats should be avoided, good quality oils should be used instead.

-Carbohydrate -rich snacks like fruit yoghurt with oats and bananas after school or work, prevent a fast drop in performance during training.

-Every snack should contain about 10% of the daily energy supply ( 180-240 kcal.) ex. A brown roll with low-fat cheese, a small pot of yoghurt with muesli or oats or some dried fruit.

-Make sure to drink plenty of water before training. The amount of water should be determined by the rate of sweating. Water should be drunk regularly during training sessions.

-A classic 3 main meal diet is not suitable for a tennis player. Snacks need to be part of the daily diet. The portion size of lunch and dinner should be smaller.

Maximizing Performance: Hydration and Sweating

-Sweating and the consequent loss of fluid reduces the ability to perform. In the summer heat, you can lose 3 litres of sweat in an hour’s training. Start drinking during activity.

-In the daily diet, reduce meat servings by half and double carbohydrate intake, this is to reduce your fat intake.

You can improve the supply of minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, by incorporating lactose. Lactose increases the reabsorption rate of these minerals and some trace elements.

Protein Recommendations

-In the summer heat, the need for liquid rises sharply, correct drinks should be taken in training. Water and apple juice in a ratio of 3:1 gives a good supply to the body’s needs.

-Calcium is important especially for girls and women, to prevent the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium-rich foods are milk and milk products, sesame and linseed.

-Salads provide many vitamins and minerals, eat them with carbohydrates like bread or potatoes before a training session.

-Correct drinking quantities: 1.5 litres per day without sport, more with sports activity corresponding to the liquid lost in sweating. Mineral water with a ratio of calcium to magnesium

 of 2:1 is recommended.

-Snacks should contribute to a high protein Quality via a combination of animal and vegetable protein. ex. Milk with cereal, bread and cheese.

Hydration Needs

-Carbohydrates need water. To effectively replenish carbohydrate reserves after exercise, you should drink sufficient fluid, as every gram of carbohydrate stores three grams of water.

-Carbonated water helps to protect against the attacking lactic acid produced in the muscles during intensive loading, and thus to maintain the performance ability for longer at a high level.

-The type of preparation determines whether meals aid performance. Nutrition-preserving cooking e.g., in pressure cookers preserves vitamins and minerals. Microwaving is also suitable for certain meals.

-Fruit and vegetables have what no vitamin tablet can provide: bioactive, vegetable content. They work as anti-oxidants. Fruit and vegetable extracts can provide a sufficient supply of these protection agents.

-In high-loading phases, top players have proved that lactose works as a natural carbohydrate/energy source. It can be added to food or mixed into drinks and is available in chemists and health food stores.

-A lot of sodium is lost by sweating. Sports drinks should replace this loss. A sports drink should contain at least 400 mg of sodium per litre, some bicarbonate mineral waters meet this requirement.

-Not all carbohydrates are the same: sugars quickly enter the bloodstream, but do not stay long and can even lead to nervousness and a lack of concentration.

-Pasta, rice and potatoes are valuable sources of carbohydrates. However, they are only as healthy as their preparation: when accompanied with grease, sauces, mayonnaise or a piece of fatty bacon, they turn meals into a supply of the performance-killer fat.

-In the first two hours after training the resynthesis of the glycogen reserves is particularly efficient. This means that at this time, sufficient high-value carbohydrates must be eaten’ e.g. a large portion of pasta, rice, potatoes

Compose the daily basic nutritional allowance mainly of carbohydrate-rich foods, which should account for 60% of the total calorie intake. (Wholemeal) pasta, rice, potatoes, whole meal bread, fruit and vegetables are suitable sources of carbohydrates.

-A sufficient iodine intake is important for sporting performance since the hormones produced by iodine are very important in the whole metabolism. Iodine salt can provide the required iodine supply.

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