The ultimate goal for your pre, post and during competition foods is simple: Provide your body with the necessary nutrients to maximize your athletic ability on the court.
The right fuel helps you rise to the occasion when the match is on the line and also greatly assists you in recovering fast, so you’re ready for your next match.
The cool thing is that there isn’t a huge difference in your pre and post meals compared to your daily meal recommendations. The word you want to focus on is quality for your pre and post meals. Focus on eating proteins, fats and carbs that are clean, unprocessed and digest well in your body.
Now every tennis player digests particular foods differently and has different taste buds, so use these recommendations as a starting point and then experiment with the foods and meals that seem to work best for you before and after your match.
You’ll want to choose proteins, fats and carbs that provide great energy for you before each competition and foods that help you recover quickly afterwards.
Here are three pre-match eating guidelines:
Eat approximately 2 hours before your match so you have proper time to digest your food. Focus on being satisfied after your meal to ensure balanced blood sugar levels. Make sure to drink 2-4 cups of water (8 oz in each cup) approximately 90 minutes before your match.
Choose from this list of the highest quality proteins, carbs and fats that your body digests well and leaves you feeling light and fast (and follow the portion size recommendations above).
Avoid protein shakes, bars and meal replacements as your pre-match meal; whole food will provide greater energy to prepare you for your competition. You’ll definitely be using protein shakes, bars and meal replacements as your during match fuel.
If you’re competing in a tournament or are on the road and cannot bring your pre-match meal, make sure to apply these same eating concepts when eating in a restaurant. Here's an example of a balanced PFC Every 3 meal:
See a few more meal ideas here.
Mark Macdonald is a world renowned nutrition and fitness expert, best-selling author, television personality, international teacher and speaker, and entrepreneur who has coached everyone from celebrities to athletes to business executives to busy moms.
He is the founder of Venice Nutrition and the IBNFC: International Board of Nutrition and Fitness Coaching, author of the New York Times Bestselling books Body Confidence and Why Kids Make You Fat...and How to Get Your Body Back, as well as a featured health expert for many national media outlets.