It is recommended that athletes should eat a well balanced diet made up of all the food groups. Although most amateur rugby players consume three large meals a day, it is normally advised that rugby players try to consume their food across 5-6 smaller meals. This is based on the assumption most players will be completing a combination of pitch based rugby sessions in addition to specific resistance/strength based sessions in the gym.
Due to individual requirements e.g. position, age and body composition, it is difficult to provide generic figures for the amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat needed within the diet. Carbohydrate remains a crucial aspect of the diet, providing the energy needed to fuel training and matches, so should be present in all meals. However, the choice of carbohydrate is important, with classical starchy carbohydrates e.g. pasta, rice, potatoes, focused during the day, specifically before, during and after training. Carbohydrate intake should be controlled in the evening, with vegetables providing the focus.
High protein intakes are popular with rugby players, principally due to the amount of training focused on the area of strength. In practice, protein should be present in all meals and snacks consumed throughout the day, with an additional focus on post training, especially due to the number of collisions and physical contact in rugby. A combination of animal and plant sources is important; it is likely supplements will provide a good solution for ease of use.
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