Cricket fitness for older players: Eating well | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Cricket fitness for older players: Eating well

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This is part 2 of the "Cricket Fitness for Older Players" series. To go to part 1 click here.

It's no revelation to say that the older you get the more weight you put on. When international sports performers hit 26 or so fitness coaches start to build in weight control strategies.

Yes, 26.

While you don't need to be in the same peak condition as elite players, giving in to love handles isn't good for your cricket or your health so what you eat becomes more important as you get older.

There is no need to go any crazy diets. You can do everything you need with a sensible, balanced approached to eating and drinking.

Here are my 5 top tips on how to eat better as you get older without looking at a diet book or existing on cabbage soup:

  1. Eat a bit less. As you get older your metabolism slows and body burns less calories in its day to day activities. That means if you make no changes to diet or activity you will put on weight when in the past you didn't. In order to prevent this you can reduce the amount you eat over a week. Don't starve yourself but cutting portions, leaving high sugar/fat snacks alone at tea and having one less pint after the game all make a difference.
  2. Treat yourself. There is nothing wrong with sweets, chocolate, beer or a kebab as long as overall you are eating in a healthy way. Use foods you like as a treat for putting in a good performance on the field or some other success so you don't feel like you are 'on a diet' (because diets don't work).
  3. Eat smaller meals more often. Eating gives you energy but 3 big meals causes a big rush of blood sugar followed by a crash (ever felt sleepy mid afternoon?) which makes you feel hungry meaning you end up eating more. To avoid this, smaller meals more often (4-6 a day) will cause less of a blood sugar rush.
  4. Eat natural. Another trick to stop the rush/crash is to eat food that causes less of an energy rush. This is known as low GI food and it's simply a matter of putting more 'natural' foods in the shopping basket. That means choosing wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice and lean cuts of meat or fresh fish rather than turkey twizzlers and fish fingers.
  5. Get your 5 portions. Fruit and vegetables not only give you a range of nutrients important for fighting of age related disease. They are also a great source of energy for cricket. The government recommends at least 5 portions. So do I as it makes easy to eat, healthy snacks with no down side, Especially if it is replacing more high sugar and fat foods.

On a side note, there are a million diets, 'fat burning' drugs and huge claims for shortcuts. Many don't work at all; the rest are just short term answers.

Your best bet as you move into your later cricket career is to focus on eating natural foods in sensible amounts with occasional treats. Don't obsess about food, just know what is going on in your diet and get on with your life.

To go to part 3 of the "Cricket fitness for older players" series, click here.

© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008

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