Following the final match of this year’s Six Nations Championship, and with the World Cup later this year, many people might be inspired to either take up the game again or start playing for the first time.
But it takes more than just a pair of rugby boots, a gum shield and some good washing powder. To be at the top of an individual’s game it is important to look at the nutrition the body needs for endurance and strength over eighty physical minutes on the pitch.
General Manager from Health Plus Simon Bandy shares his knowledge on getting the body match ready:
Protein power – protein plays a significant part in the diet of a rugby player for muscle strength, growth and repair. Salmon, turkey, chicken and eggs are great sources as they can easily be added to meals. Protein is also found in beans and pulses which are good for slowing down metabolism, helping people feel fuller for longer and many contain magnesium which is essential for recovery. To boost protein intake try opting for a protein shake which can be used as a snack between meals.
Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are needed and used for energy, so it is important for rugby players to include good sources. Opting for brown versions of foods such as bread and rice will also boost nutrition. Other good swaps include white potatoes for vitamin C rich sweet potato. It is also recommended to avoid carbs with excessive salt and sugar levels to prevent energy slumps.
Fats – Good fats are essential for everyone but for those who play rugby choosing extra virgin olive oil over bad fats and oils is a must as it is loaded with antioxidants which can fight inflammation which is important when playing a contact sport. Full fat yoghurt is also a good option as it contains calcium for healthy bones and also probiotics, which populate the gut and play an important role in the body’s immunity. Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon are also a great source of good fats. The omegas contained in these have been proven to help with brain function. For those who don’t like the strong taste of oily fish choose a supplement like Health Plus Omega Complex (30 caps – £5.45).
Simon said: “Maintaining a healthy diet while avoiding processed foods and alcohol are important when looking at improving performance. What we feed our bodies has a direct correlation on how they perform. What is also important to remember about the build of a rugby player is that the standard way of calculating body mass index (BMI) doesn’t apply due to their larger muscular frames.
Visit www.healthplus.co.uk for products and more information.