What to Eat Before And After Your Tennis Match

The better your diet is, the better the tennis player you will be – simply because the food you eat before and after playing goes directly to feed your body so you can play well and repair your body so you recover well. The food you eat needs to maximise your energy stores so that you can meet your energy demands throughout your game and afterwards.

It is best to eat a meal high in carbohydrates, a palm sized amount of protein and small amount of fat, 2-3 hours before playing tennis, to allow adequate time for your body to digest the meal and utilise the nutrients for your game. If needed, you can consume a high carbohydrate snack 1 hour before playing tennis, if you know you get hungry and need an extra boost.

Post playing, the top three goals are to replace glycogen stores in your muscles and liver, replace the lost electrolytes and fluids that have been lost via sweating, and assist your body in recovering so that you’re able to repair your muscles and ligaments, as well as to support your immune system.

It is essential to eat something within 30 minutes of finishing playing, no matter what time of day it is – this is because your glycogen stores have been used up and need to be replaced. The best food to replace these stores is carbohydrates – but your muscles will also need some protein to help them recover. If you know it will be a few hours before you get to eat a proper meal, take a protein powder with you that have some carbohydrates in it, so that you can refuel straight away. (The Protein powder we recommend is Clean Lean Protein by Nuzest)

As a general guide, your meal after you play should consist of foods in a ratio of 4:1 of carbohydrates to protein. Look at food labels to determine how much carbohydrates and protein are in foods, but as an example a smoothie with protein powder and fruit in the correct ratio is a good post-match meal.

This is our favourite Smoothie - Banana, Coconut milk, blueberries, egg, honey …

Pay attention to your food intake for one month and you will really notice your energy levels, muscle soreness, tennis fitness / strength levels will dramatically improve. You will be very surprised. Give it a go. Remember, “You are what you eat”
By Dina Friedman - Naturopath

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