photo credit: karimian
What's the secret to eating for maximum stamina on the cricket pitch?
It all boils down to balance.
If you eat a diet that balances out fat, protein and carbohydrate from whole, natural sources you are eating consistently. There is nothing the body likes more than a consistent stream of energy that it can use while you are batting, bowling or fielding.
This balanced approach is slightly different from the advice we used to hear.
In the past cricketers were told to emphasise starchy foods like bread, potatoes, pasta and rice ahead of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Sugary foods were often recommended for a quick stamina boost just before play.
The theory is that you are getting as much blood sugar (glycogen) into your system as possible to use as energy. Sugar and starch are the quickest ways to do this.
All that carbohydrate is unbalancing your diet.
While we do need a steady supply of glycogen, especially during matches, there is no need to get all this from starchy and sugary sources. In fact, it's better to maintain a balance of all nutrients. Everything is too closely linked to emphasise one element over another.
For example, getting 50-60% of your food from starches and sugars can lead to low grade acidosis: symptoms of which include reduced bone density and increased muscle wastage.
What this means is that cricketers need to include an equal amount of other nutrients to act as a balance:
- Protein. Meat, dairy and other protein sources can supply you with energy as well as starches and sugars without an associated blood sugar crash. Protein also improves metabolism, cholesterol levels and body composition when eaten in balance with fat and carbohydrate. Red meats contain levels of creatine which boosts your power output.
- Fat. Eating fat from a range of sources reduces inflammation and boosts your metabolic rate. Most of us get too much saturated fat and not enough of the other types (poly- and monounsaturated). We need to balance these too.
- Vitamins and Minerals. It's unlikely you are lacking in vitamins and minerals in your diet enough to cause serious issues. However, missing out long term on micronutrients can lead to low energy levels in the short term and major problems in the long term. So, eat your greens.
Now we know the theory, let's look at what foods are best for keeping your energy levels up on weekend afternoons of cricket:
Match Day and Post Workout/Training Foods
These foods are usually best saved for match day or for directly after a training session. Some people can eat more but they should make up 30-40% of your diet at a maximum.
- Oats (not instant)
- Wholemeal bread
- Brown rice
- Wholemeal pasta
- Sweet potatoes
- Kidney Beans
Protein and Vegetables
Eat some protein with every meal, making up 30-40% of your overall diet.
- Protein powder (whey, casein or a blend)
- Cottage Cheese
Also have 1-2 portions of vegetable with every meal or snack. These will supply you with vital carbs, vitamins and minerals and are vital to endurance levels.
Fat is found in almost all food, so you will be getting some through eating the food above. However, you should make sure you get a balance of fats. Use the sources like below to get your fat intake up to around 30% of your diet:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fish oil (supplement or from fresh, oily fish)
- Natural peanut butter
- Mixed nuts, especially walnuts
If you balance these foods at the right time all week you will ensure your stamina is at maximum levels on match day.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008