Although it’s not typically counted as an “extreme” sport, tennis is one of those activities that places huge demands on a person’s body. To be successful, a player needs a seemingly endless supply of explosive energy to propel them around the court at a moment’s notice – something that’s not easy to achieve, even with all the training in the world. To power this constant motion, it’s important for tennis players to provide their bodies with just the right fuel, both on training days and match days, but figuring out what qualifies as the “right fuel” can be tough, given all the choices out there. It’s for this reason that many future tennis stars wonder, “What is the best diet for tennis players?” To find out, keep reading as the aminoVITAL® team – makers of amino acid supplements for tennis players – discuss the answer.
How to Start Your Daily Diet as a Tennis Player
We’ve all heard the adage about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, and it’s one that applies to tennis players as much as – or even more than – anyone else. The way you start your day will determine how much energy you have for hours to come, so on days when you have to perform at your best for a match or tournament, you’ll need to put some attention into what you have for breakfast.
The most critical component of this meal in a diet for tennis players is probably the carbohydrates. While you may have heard some negative things about carbs – some of which is well-earned – including the right kinds of carbs in your breakfast can make all the difference. To ensure a steady supply of energy through the first half of your day, pick complex carbs, which take time to digest, rather than simple carbs, which cause a spike in blood sugar and make you crash afterward. Good choices include oatmeal, whole wheat toast, and hash browns (as long as they’re not too greasy).
The Importance of Midday Meals in a Tennis Player’s Diet
Whether at the gym or on the court, tennis players put a lot of time and energy into their sport – energy that has to come from somewhere. While a good breakfast can help you stay energized for a few hours, every player runs out of fuel eventually. To ward off hunger and fatigue in the afternoon, it’s important that you serve your body the proper nutrients – again, complex carbs play a starring role.
Bananas in a Tennis Diet
One particular source of carbs that’s popular with tennis players is the banana, a tasty and easy-to-carry snack that provides both simple and complex carbs (mostly complex) along with a welcome dose of potassium, which can help you avoid cramping up during a match. Although some players choose to enjoy a banana during their match, it’s more effective as a source of fuel if you eat your banana about an hour to an hour and a half before you’re scheduled to play, as the delay will give your body time to start breaking down the carbs in the fruit for energy.
Hydration for Tennis Players
It may seem counterintuitive to focus on hydration before you’ve started to sweat, but sipping a sports drink or amino acid energy supplement about an hour before you play can help prepare your body for the eventual loss of fluids. Just as during a match, electrolytes play an important role here by improving fluid retention throughout the body, so choose a product that offers these minerals.
The Best Recovery Diet for Tennis Players
Unlike a pre-match diet for tennis players, which is focused on ensuring that the player has adequate energy while they compete, a post-match diet is all about promoting recovery, especially in the muscles. After the kind of tough workout that takes place on a tennis court, the body’s skeletal muscle is sure to be in shambles; not only is the physical stress of propelling your body enough to damage these tissues, but the chemical processes that generate energy can also break down muscle proteins as a source of emergency fuel.
The best way to help these damaged regions recover is to provide plenty of amino acids, which encourage the recovery process and serve as the building blocks for new muscle cells. For many tennis players, this means a protein-heavy recovery diet, as protein is made up of amino acids, but an amino acid recovery supplement can serve as a more efficient source of these essential compounds. AminoVITAL® supplements, for instance, are made with a mix of five amino acids, including the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are known for their ability to help repair damaged muscles.
Amino acid recovery supplements from aminoVITAL® also contain carbs, another key part of a tennis player’s post-match diet. Because the body’s stores of glycogen – the main source of energy during exercise – are depleted after a match, it’s important to include a dose of carbs right after the competition has ended to replenish those reserves for the next day. Here, simple carbs are actually encouraged, as they can be digested and sent to the muscles (where glycogen is stored) more quickly.
Try an Amino Acid Supplement as Part of a Tennis-Friendly Diet
The physical demands placed on athletes are always taxing, but tennis players face a level of exertion that demands the best diet possible. As part of that diet, amino acid supplements can go a long way toward limiting muscle damage during matches, improving the results of strength training, and aiding in recovery after exercise. Learn more about how amino acids work and what products we offer by visiting aminoVITAL® online or calling (888) 264-6673 today.