Pre-match fitness and nutrition
1. Exercise in a fasting state during your training. This is an approach that really makes sense although for some of you it may be completely contradictory to what you have been lead to believe. When we exercise energy is directed towards our muscles and away from our digestive system so anything we eat will sit there like a lead balloon.
2. Keep your protein intake high. Proteins form the building blocks of all the structures of your body. Good quality proteins include eggs (can be eaten every day), fish, chicken and wild meat.
3. Consider cutting out wheat and dairy. Both can cause unwanted digestive disturbances whilst you are training. Instead add in plenty of vegetables including greens which will be a good source of calcium.
4. The night before your match eat plenty of easily digestible protein such as fish and complex carbs from root vegetables.
During match stretch and hydration
Post-match nutrition and recovery
Hydrate only when thirsty. Exercise scientist Professor Tim Noakes says in his book Waterlogged ‘Dehydration is simply a reduction in the total body water content. The only symptom of dehydration is thirst. If an athlete is not thirsty, he is not dehydrated’.
• Continue to eat plenty of protein to enable your body repair.
• Include healthy fats from eggs, fish and nuts.
• Boost your antioxidant defence system with loads of fresh vegetables.
• Ideally have your meal within forty minutes of finishing your match.
Or consider a quality protein shake if this is not possible.
Why eat blueberries
Native to many parts of the world, especially the Northern Hemisphere, blueberries have been eaten since prehistoric times. Native Americans used them in a traditional dish called pemmican composed of fruit and dried meat. Whilst they tend to be grown commercially on farms, they also grow wild in woody and mountainous regions in the US and Canada.
Currently the most popular medicinal use of blueberries is in improving vision and protecting against age-related macular degeneration.
During World War II, British Air Force pilots consumed a variety known as bilberry before their night missions. Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanidins. They are also very good source of vitamin C and E, soluble fibre and minerals.