With Rio Olympics kicking off and the players giving out their best performances, what caught the eye is the uprising PV Sindhu! Sindhu’s excellent performance in the semi finals against Nozomi Okuhara couldn’t be missed. So what does it take to become a Saina Nehwal or a PV Sindhu?
Nutritional Guidelines for a Badminton Player
Having good nutrition and hydration strategies are very important to ensure players have the fuel and fluid required to perform at their best. Players can improve their performance by consuming a low fat, carbohydrate rich meal 1-4 hours before their first game. If an extra snack is needed before the match, try a light, low glycaemic carbohydrate rich snack (low in fiber) about one hour prior to the game.
Carbohydrate is the main fuel needed for players therefore basing meals and snacks on healthy carbohydrate rich foods is ideal. Adequate amount of Carbs are required to ensure that there is sufficient fuel available during the training, as well as to help with quick recovery between training sessions and games. Meals and snacks should be low on Glycemic Index (low GI). Wholegrain carbohydrate foods are considered ideal. This includes: oats, grainy breads and crackers, pasta, basmati or brown rice, noodles and starchy vegetable like potatoes and sweet potato. During and immediately after intense training sessions, additional carbohydrate rich foods and drinks can be helpful to provide additional fuel and help with recovery. Bagels, white bread, watermelon, wraps, jelly beans and sports drinks are some ideas.
Protein is important to optimize gains in lean body mass (muscle) and promote muscular recovery after exercise. Badminton players should aim to include protein rich foods in their meals and snacks, for example lean meat, fish and chicken, eggs, legumes (dried beans) and low fat dairy products.
For all Badminton players it is important to include some healthy fats each day including avocado, nuts, seeds, oily fish and healthy oils like Olive oil and Canola oil. The amount required for the players majorly depend on an individual’s weight and energy requirements. Unhealthy fats should be avoided as much as possible. This includes the skin on chicken, white fat on meat, butter and fat often used in cakes, biscuits and many takeaways.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage to your muscles from a workout, suppress muscle inflammation and can aid tissue repair and recovery. Foods like blueberry, kidney been and cranberry are rich in antioxidants. They are also good sources of carbohydrate and therefore make excellent pre and post training foods. Include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables (e.g. purple, orange, red and green coloured varieties) in your diet each day. Adding vegetables into cooking or fruit to your meals is also a great way to boost your fibre, vitamin and mineral intake. Try slicing a banana or pear onto breakfast cereal, adding dried fruit to salad or grated carrot and courgette into mince.
Drinking fluid regularly before, during and after training is essential for good hydration. Water prevents injury during the event and keeps you hydrated. Lemon water, green tea, lime mint cooler are few ways of including fluids. Sports drinks not only assist with hydration but also provide extra carbohydrate for the working muscles. Level of dehydration is usually indicated by the color of the urine. A very pale colour denotes healthy hydration whereas dark urine indicates severe dehydration.
Wholegrain toast with peanut butter, fruit toast with peanut butter and jam, muesli bars, apples, oranges, grapes, grapefruit, 1/2 cup of pasta, a few slices of whole grain bread, oats, yogurt, nuts and ½ cup of brown rice. Just 20-30 mins prior to the event the player can have banana, raisins, dates and energy bars.
Drink a bottle of water, coconut water, sports drink, liquid meal supplement, sports bar and banana
Consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein within 20 min of the training or game eg. Sports drink, rasgulla (squeezed & washed in water), pineapples, ripe banana, , watermelon or dates, whey protein shake, buttermilk, boiled egg whites, glass of low fat chocolate milk, chicken & mixed vegetables, dried fruits & nuts, whole wheat crackers, salmon & mashed potatoes, cereal & skim milk and fruit smoothie.
Antioxidant rich foods, frozen berries, yoghurt, homemade recovery shake with low fat milk, peas, turmeric, ginger, coconuts, turkey, salmon and cinnamon- Have this after 1 hour of post training.
So take your shuttlecock and racket and hit the badminton court right away!