Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What to Eat Before a Tennis Match

Endurance in a tennis match can mean the difference between victory and defeat. In a sport where the record for the longest match is 11 hours and 5 minutes, you have to be prepared for anything and your pre-match nutrition will provide the fuel you need to sustain longer matches.

Playing a match that long is inconceivable to most amateur tennis players, but proper nutrition is still integral to performance. See below for recommended foods to eat before tennis matches.

What to Eat Before a Tennis Match

Your pre-match meal is most important to your performance on the court. Eating will serve to give you energy, keep your blood sugar up (which prevents nausea and light-headedness), and contribute to post-match recovery.

A mix of carbohydrates in the form of fresh fruit and whole grain food is best for pre-match meals. You also don't want to eat a large meal or eat too close to your match time. Eating a substantial meal about 4 hours before a match and then a small snack one to two hours before (including your pre-match warm up time) is usually sufficient, but everyone is different.

Some foods that are good as meals the day of a match are:

  • Lean meat (turkey, chicken, lean beef)
  • Fish
  • Whole grain rice
  • Fresh green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole grain bread

Here are a few foods that are great as a snack before a tennis match:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Mangos
  • Oranges
  • Berries (blue, black, strawberries)
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole grain bread
  • Oatmeal (or oatmeal bars)

Make sure that when you eat your pre-match snack that you don't feel too full. Eat just enough to curb any hunger, and you should feel good for your match. Of course, staying hydrated before, during, and after your match is absolutely crucial to your performance, so make sure you drink plenty of water. It's also recommended to save the sports drinks for during your match to replace any lost sodium and give your blood sugar a boost.

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