NETFIT Dietician Jess Spendlove takes us through her 5 tips to preparing your nutrition for a tournament day to make sure you have enough food and energy to last you the entire day – and make it to the finals!
Tournament day… an early morning start, setting up the marquee, packing an extra pair of everything just in case and having plenty of snacks to last you the day, sound familiar?
Tournament or multi-game days are an excellent opportunity for you to put what you have trained for into practice, not to mention they are lots of fun! Getting the nutrition piece of the puzzle right will help you start the day fresh, energised and fuelled while also making sure you get to the end of the day with enough fuel in the tank to still perform at your best.
You want to make sure you are still playing with the same energy as game 1, especially if you go all the way and make the final for the day! Here are some of my key strategies to help you prepare for your next tournament day:
Start to prepare and adjust your nutrition 24 hours before your tournament day. If your tournament is on a Sunday morning, start to be conscious about how you are fuelling your body from Friday night onwards. Particular attention should be to all the elements at each meal and snack the day before, which includes protein, carbohydrates, colours and healthy fats.
Increasing your intake of carbohydrates 24 hours in advance will help you load your muscles with additional glycogen which is the main fuel reserve on tournament day. It is still really important to continue to top up your carbohydrates across the day as you will run low on energy if you don’t.
Making sure you are hydrated is key to performing at your best during a tournament. If you are struggling to eat more carbohydrates throughout the day, you can use smoothies or fresh juices to add extra carbohydrates and fluids, which I call a win, win. Make sure you leave plenty of time before drinking a smoothie or juice between your games as this may upset your stomach when running around.
When we sweat, we lose fluids and electrolytes (sodium, magnesium and potassium). When playing multiple games a day in a tournament, we tend to sweat more than usual, especially if it’s warm in the middle of the day. Adding some extra salt to foods the day before can be a good tip if you sweat a lot or tend to cramp. This could be salt on your food or additional sauces, like soy sauce.
Have fun! These days are awesome memories with your netball team and to create a great day for everyone you could make a team snack to bring for your team such as muesli bites (find this recipe in Baseline Magazine Edition 006).
Want to see more of Jess Spendlove’s top tips? Head to her Instagram to learn more: https://www.instagram.com/jess_spendlove_dietitian/