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With the netball season starting it is important to consider how we fuel for games for those consistent high-level performance! Nutrition is not only important to how we play but to how we train and recover during the week.
At all levels of netball, the body’s anaerobic and aerobic systems are fired up, requiring players to demonstrate speed, agility, strength, endurance and have excellent hand-eye coordination due to netballs stop-start. The food we eat must provide fuel to the exercising muscles, along with nutrients for our bodies to growth, recover and function normally. Choosing the correct types of fuel around training and games is vital for a fit, strong, healthy netball player however exact requirements differ on player position and additional exercise outside of netball.
The most important nutrients around exercise of this intensity are carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle growth/repair, and water for hydration. These nutrients provide the best fuel to perform during a game as there is a greater need for carbohydrates at exercise of greater intensity.
The timing of when we eat is one of the keys to success! The following table is a guide on what to eat before, during and after training and games.
For some, eating before exercise is not easy, usually due to nerves or stomach upset. However, due to the high demand of energy during a game it is important to find something that suits you. This could be as simple as a glass of non-acidic fruit juice such as apple or pear, 1-2 pieces of white bread with spread, or a banana, as these all digested quickly providing your body with energy without making you feel unwell.
Another important component of playing well is adequate fluid intake. Studies have shown that dehydration can negatively impact your performance especially in a sport where accuracy, agility and coordination are required. In order to stay hydrated, be sure to sip on water from the moment you get up of a morning as by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated! The best way to see if you are hydrated is by the colour of your urine, and you should aim for it to be a pale, straw-like colour before and after training sessions especially. See the image as a guide!
While playing sport is a fun, energetic and social activity, there are some important nutritional factors to consider. It can take some time to find what works best for you, but it is worth it! Sport dietitian Ali’s main tips around training and has is to be organised by taking your own food and drink so you have access to fuelling foods and follow the nutrient timing guide to make sure you get the most out of your season.
Working with a Sports Dietitian is the best way to discover what nutrition strategies during training and games work best for you and your lifestyle. To get started call Coast Sport on (02) 4356 2588 or book online via the button below today.
Thanks to Coast Sport Dietitian Ali for preparing this blog. You can find out more about Ali here.