Apr 8, 2014



I recently had the pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of netballers and chatting (albeit briefly) about sports nutrition with them. It seemed the younger players were very keen and eager to chat and get suggestions on what they could eat. Where as the older players (mid-30s and up) seemed to be set in their ways, not open to suggestions, wanting me to tell them that yes, beer is a suitable beverage of choice after a game, all the while not really looking like a thriving, healthy, happy, fit individual.

I took away that as the younger girls were much more interested in learning a thing or two and having a chat about it all, it's the younger girls I've gotta get chatting to more, so they don't end up wanting beers and Maccas after their games in 15yrs time.

However, whether it's netball, soccer, softball, tennis, hockey, a fun run, or even a kick-ass body attack class you're doing each weekend, the basic pre-, during-, and post-activity nutrition for these cardio activities are the same.


Depending on what time your game is, you either want a small snack, or you may have had brekkie or lunch a couple of hours before, in which case, that will keep you ticking for your game. A small nutrient rich snack would consist of carbohydrate predominantly, with fats and proteins there as well if they so happen to be so (as in a bliss ball). Something like a couple of medjool dates, half a banana, or a whole one if it's a little longer til your game. The thing is, you want to have a little something in you but nothing so big that you'll get a stitch or worse, hurl it up on court. With nothing in your stomach you're gonna feel like you're running on empty. So ditch the canteen lollies and grab a raw food bar instead.


If you're playing a 60min sports game, you don't really need to consume anything beside water and possibly some coconut water (which is a very pleasant tipple at a scorcher Cairns midday game). When I was playing netball at 7yrs of age, we'd have cut up oranges at half time, but whether this was just the done thing back then, or more of a pep-up for 7yrs old running around for an hour... I'd say the latter. I saw it the other weekend as well but again, only at junior games. Food is not needed for a 60 minute game, unless of course you have a blood sugar level condition you need to monitor yourself. Hydration on the other hand is paramount so aim for 1L per game, sipping small amounts at the intervals.


This is where most people can blow out - the same after that gym sesh right? Well this is where nutrition is most important. You want to refuel your body, replenish your cells, repair your muscle tissues, and calm everything down. Hydration is number one so if you didn't get enough water down during the game, now's when you betta be doing it. And then it's to some food. This could be 15 minutes after your game or an hour or so - it depends on how you're feeling, how hungry you are, and if your stomach is ready for something. My top suggestion here is a smoothie. Quick and easy, it's the fastest and gentlest way to ramp up the re-fuelling post game. A little fruit, a scoop of protein, coconut water, cacao powder, cinnamon... Aim for a variety of carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores, protein to repair muscle damage and to ensure you're not so sore tomorrow. Coconut water is full of electrolytes that are lost through sweat, cacao is rich in magnesium for smooth muscle contraction (meaning less cramps), and cinnamon is an anti-oxidant (intense cardio is actually pro-oxidant). Other goodies include nut butters, chia seeds, anything green, nut milks, yoghurt, berries, acai... the list is endless.
If you're game or event is early in the day, you can refuel with lunch, and if it's later you can refuel with dinner. Both these meals usually contain ample amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fat.

And the kicker... Is what you put in your mouth every. other. day. of. the. week.

Any pro athlete will tell you that the key to how nutrition plays a part in their training/career/performance is probably 10% what they fuel themselves with during the event/game/race/etc... and 90% what happens around that. Good nutrition is key to good performance and why every top athlete has a nutritionist close by their side. You know that if bread doesn't agree with you, but you give in and eat it, you're likely gonna be feeling bloated, crampy, tired, and cranky. Do you want to play feeling like that? I didn't think so.

By hydrating your body with fresh filtered water and nourishing your body with fresh fruits and veggies as a base, then adding in what works for YOU - be it animal proteins or legumes, nuts and seeds, grains, animals or plant fats, juices or smoothies - and crowding out what doesn't, you'll be feeling your best everyday. You'll have the energy to get to training and to play your best at your games, perform at school, college or work, bound outta bed each morning, and simply lead a happier healthier life.

Sound like too much of a good thing? Email me for a consult and I'll show you it's not.

Bottom line...

Be sure to listen to your body with nutrition in sport as even some elite athletes do some crazy things that work for them. But it took them a while to figure that out I'm sure. Half a banana before a game is awesome for some people, but too much to eat for others. And after a game you might need to eat something stat... or prefer to cool down and wait and hour or so. Find what works for you, but be sure that the food you choose is from a whole food source, fresh, unprocessed, nutrient rich and serving your body more than it is stripping you of nutrition. Then you'll never lose.

FOR YOU ---> Do you play weekend sport, participate in fun runs or love a good body attack class? Tell me what you do before and after your activity and share with your fellow readers below :)

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