A sports nutrition plan for match day performance

Competitive sports people train really hard during the week but often scupper their chances of performing at their optimum by  eating the wrong type of foods on match day.

Often we put the time and effort in to training and tactics but we neglect or are unsure of what the best food to eat so we can perform at our best.

One suggestion I would make is to…

Avoid eating and pasta and sports drinks on the day of the match.

Yes you read that right…

Pasta and Sports drinks have a high Glycaemic index (GI) which means they are digested and converted into sugar very quickly, when this happens your blood sugar level rises quickly.

Insulin is then produced by the body to bring the blood sugar levels back into acceptable levels this can lead to a crash in energy levels.

 Have you ever felt sleepy after a big meal?

 That’s because of the sugar insulin roller coaster.

You can start drinking an energy sports drink but wait until you have started your warm up and you are burning some energy.

Ok so what type of energy giving carbs should I be eating on the day of the match?

You want to be eating carbs that release their energy slowly and are low in fibre.

We want the energy to be released slowly so we don’t get the sugar high followed by the crash from the high GI foods.

Usually the types of  carb that release their energy slowly are the likes of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage the problem with these on match  day are they are high in fibre which is going to absorb water and slow you down.

Some good carbohydrate sources are

•    Sweet potatoes

•     Basmati rice

•    Rice pudding ( even custards and some instant puddings)

•    Root vegetables. Here are some general guidelines for match day eating

•    No wheat ( can cause  water retention and bloating )

•    No dairy – apart from goat’s / sheep’s ( cows milk can also cause bloating)

•    Low fibre  (high fibre foods weigh you down)

•    High energy  foods but low GI (we need energy for the game)

•    Low amounts of  saturated fat

I’ve created a comprehensive Match Day Nutrition    guide that you can get your hands on here if you are really serious about getting the best out of your match day performance.


Matt Lovell – Elite Sports Nutritionist

Matt Lovell - Elite Sports Nutritionist

Matt Lovell is the sports nutritionist for the England Rugby team and works with  UK Athletics team as they prepare for the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

Matt has written a comprehensive guide on Preparing for a Big Event, the popular Fat Loss Program Four Week Fat Loss and Regenerate a Muscle Building Nutrition program.


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