Is the traditional breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner right for cricketers? It certainly hasn't done any harm to generations of players over hundreds of years.
While this way of eating has done its bit to fuel players adequately, we don't want adequate, we want optimum.
Sports nutrition has found a way to push your performance even further. It's called nutrient timing.
The benefits of eating the right food at the right time combined with training are well known: Faster recovery, better weight control and improved work capacity.
The science behind nutrient timing could fill a book, but it breaks down to two simple ideas:
- You body is ready to use energy as quickly as possible during and after exercise, so you need to fuel it with fast acting carbohydrate and protein.
- At other times your body needs a steady supply of lean protein, 'good' fat, fruit and vegetables that is mostly unprocessed.
What does this look like in a real eating plan?
Firstly, it means following Dr. John Beradi's "7 Habits" at least 90% of the time. That 10% gives you a couple of meals a week to 'cheat'.
Secondly, it means making sure you are drinking a workout drink during training, play or cricket fitness sessions and getting a meal 1-2 hours after you finish. The meal should be simply a matter of timing your normal dinner or lunch after exercise.
Cricket Fitness Drink
The workout drink needs a little more planning but it's worth the effort.
You need around 0.5 litre per hour of training or play. Water is OK, sports drink or orange squash is better because it contains fast acting carbohydrate that your muscles suck up.
The best drink is a combination of carbohydrates and protein (about 2:1 ratio). You can buy powders to add to water with weird sounding bodybuilder type names. Don't be put off by that. Biotest Surge, Cytofuse or any drink with low fats and a 2:1 ratio of carbs and protein all have the right balance, taste good and mix with water quickly.
Make sure you have some form of workout drink available while you are playing too. You can get some in before going out to bat of field, take some in at tea time and make sure you are taking some on board during the drinks break. It means mixing up the powder and water 5 minutes before you head out to play.
Not bad for all those extra runs and wickets you will get as a result.
Whatever you choose, every cricketer can benefit from the simple idea that eating the right thing at the right time can make a significant difference to your health and cricket.
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