Tennis is a demanding sport, both mentally and physically. It can be just as tiring trying to figure out an opponent’s serve as it is running for a drop shot, therefore making it worthwhile to invest time into improving both aspects of your all-round performance. Of course, your food intake isn’t the only thing that requires monitoring, but it does help. After all, what we put into our bodies is essentially what we get out of them.
The top players around the world certainly aren’t consuming unhealthy foods once they’ve snuck off Centre Court at Wimbledon. Likewise, the mental strength they regularly illustrate is what separates them from their nearest rivals. To improve both physically and mentally, tennis players generally take on a specific dietary strategy that incorporates some beneficial foods. The top players in the world do it too, therefore helping them to climb up the rankings and become a favoured option for many when it comes to betting on tennis. Classic examples of this include the likes of Rafael Nadal, a tennis star who has shown a great deal of mental and physical strength during a career that has been hindered by injury at times. Being such a finely-tuned athlete would have enabled Nadal to bounce back quicker than most from such setbacks, therefore highlighting just how important it is to look after your body.
With food intake playing an integral role in our all-round health, here is a look at some of the best foods for tennis players to eat.
Energy Bars and Gels
You’ve probably seen some of the best players in the world snack on energy bars during training videos or consume energy gels during matches. Energy bars give players a boost of carb-rich energy before they venture out onto court, while energy gels provide some electrolytes and more easily digestible carbohydrates in the form of maltodextrin, all of which are consumed during changeovers in play and during set breaks.
Some professional players avoid carbohydrates, but they’re certainly in the minority. For the rest, though, pasta is fuel that is vitally important ahead of a big match or a training session. Should you fail to consume a sufficient amount of carbs, then it really could hinder your performance. Likewise, too many carbs can leave you feeling heavy and unable to move as quickly as normal. With this in mind, it’s important to load up on carbs two hours before court time.
Admittedly, tomato juice isn’t everyone’s favourite thing to drink but its benefits are hugely important to tennis players. Although it’s not ideal to consume tomato juice before playing a vitally important match, some players drink it afterwards in order to replenish themselves and replace any lost salt, carbs and liquid which typically occurs when playing a tightly contested five-setter.
Believe it or not but chocolate milk offers tennis players a range of nutritional benefits. Of course, you shouldn’t consume it throughout every minute of every day, but chocolate flavoured recovery shakes, such as Muscle Milk, can form part of an effective dietary plan and give players something to burn off when they’re out on court. Chocolate milk is also known to repair tired and shredded muscles.
In general, carbohydrates form an integral part of many professional athletes’ diets, but complex carbohydrates are also vitally important as they’re known to replace muscle glycogen. Foods that contain complex carbs include the likes of brown rice, whole-grain bread, and whole-wheat pasta, and are typically consumed when in competition in order for them to achieve the maximum level of performance during what can be a testing week or two of competitive action.