What you eat matters when you play tennis, so it makes sense to maintain proper eating habits and eat the right food that will give you enough energy and stamina, strengthen your immune system, and build your muscles. While there is no such thing as miracle food, having a balanced and varied meal with all the right nutrients should suffice. Here are some pointers for managing your daily diet while playing tennis:
Load up on carbs – If you regularly play and engage in intense workouts, eating lots of carbohydrates will provide you with the energy your body needs to move. Carbs are stored in the liver as glycogen, and they should provide about an hour’s worth of energy. Maintaining a diet that is rich in carbohydrates before a match should double your liver’s capacity for storing energy. Some of the best sources of carbohydrates are pastas, breads, rice, potatoes, fruit, and beans.
Eat a sufficient amount of protein daily – Protein is an essential part of a good tennis diet as it restores and strengthens you after intense workouts and play. When your body runs out of energy from carbs, the amino acids from proteins will serve as an energy source. For optimal performance, your carb intake should be higher than your proteins, but be sure to eat the right food like milk, potatoes, grains, fish, and meat to fulfill your daily protein requirements.
Maintain a low-fat diet – Make sure that not more than 30 percent of your overall calorie intake is coming from fats. The average western diet consumes around 35 to 40 percent of fat, but as a tennis player, you should minimize your fat intake before and after matches. Consider eating lean poultry, beef, and ham instead of fatty meats like bacon and sausages. Moreover, try to eat three square meals a day and avoid snacking on potato chips and peanuts. You may want to consider using margarine instead of butter, and avoid gravy and dressings.
Take vitamin supplements – Lack of vitamins will result in poor athletic performance, but keep in mind that they are not magic pills that will give you an edge in tennis. Vitamin supplements may be advisable if you cannot get enough nutrients from your daily meals, especially if you are a vegetarian.
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