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Competition & Travel

Once the baseline eating plan is established, fine tuning of the player's eating pattern should be planned appropriate to their needs and goals. The optimum base diet for all sports people is one which is high in carbohydrates and low in fat, and which provides sufficient protein, nutrients and energy content.

Players should consider the increased energy requirements of training, as many do not meet their recommended energy intake. This results in reduced training levels, training intensity, and endurance.

Remember everyone is an individual with their own particular likes and dislikes. To be effective, nutritional advice should be easily incorporated into the player's current eating pattern.

Drastic changes are not recommended as they may cause discomfort and create problems with compliance. Make any changes gradually.

Energy used during competition comes mainly from foods consumed in the days immediately prior to the event. When preparing for competition the player should eat only familiar foods, emphasising the energy content in the diet. Competition is not the time to try anything new.

Food provided at competitions is often in the form of chips and snack bars, which are not conducive to a good performance. It is a good idea to have the players take their own snacks.

For example, fruit, yoghurt and muffins make a good snack between matches or events.

Most players compete away from home at some stage during the season. Being ‘on tour' is no reason to neglect nutrition and risk poor performance. Plan ahead by either preparing your own food and snacks, or arrange for lunch to be prepared at a local bakery (to your specifications). If you are having takeaways for dinner choose a healthy option, for example Chinese (with steamed rather than fried rice), or kebabs.