When you walk on the court, do you feel tired or heavy? Do you take a long time to get warmed up? Are you resting well at night and feeling refreshed the next morning? If you have answered “yes” to the first two questions, and “no” to the third, it could be a sign that you’re not fueling your body with the right foods or the right amount of foods to help make energy and speed recovery after a long workout.
Sometimes tennis players come up with the idea that being lean means quickness and therefore better performance. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Being lean isn’t always what makes a player’s performance better. Staying strong and fueled with proper balance of foods will help your body and performance more than any quick fix. Instead, follow a meal plan that helps lose fat and protect, or even increase, lean mass. Your daily fueling plans should include:
· A minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
· A minimum of six servings of grain products – preferably whole grains to maximize fiber content.
· Two to three servings of lean meats.
· Three servings of lean dairy a day.
· To keep calorie content low, prepare foods without sauces, butter or sugar.
· Minimize desserts, excess oils and alcohol.
Even with a well-rounded meal plan and training program, players may be tempted to dehydrate quickly to achieve a desired weight. This short cut also impairs performance. To maintain performance, hydration must be maintained by replacing the loss of sweat during an intense workout. Research shows that a sports drink consumed during training helps performance more than water. Selecting a beverage that contains carbohydrates, sodium and other electrolytes will enhance hydration.
Steven White is the author of…
Teaching Tennis: Protocol for Instructors