Good nutrition key in being tennis tournament ready | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Good nutrition key in being tennis tournament ready

Randy Berg
Special to the Tribune

A women's singles match from last year.

With the Incline Open Tennis Tournament in full swing, I wanted to share a few nutrition tips on preparing your body to be in the best shape possible come game day.

The food you put in your body directly impacts your performance on the court, and knowing what to eat and drink on and off the court can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Focus on consuming whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats to play at your best.

Before your first match, eat a balanced meal of carbs plus protein plus fat about three to four hours before you play, with a light carb-loaded snack 15 to 60 minutes prior.

During the match, take in 30 to 60 grams of carbs every hour to stay fueled. After your match, a snack of carbs plus protein within the first 30 minutes and a balanced meal less than two hours after will start the recovery process.

In tennis, it's common to have more than one event in a day. Whether that means morning and afternoon practices or back-to-back matches, refueling between events is key to performing consistently throughout the day.

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The amount of downtime that you have determines what and how much you should eat:

Less than 1 hour: fluids (e.g. a sports drink)

1-2 hours: eat a small snack (e.g. granola bar, banana)

2-plus hours: eat a large snack (e.g. sandwich, chocolate milk, yogurt parfait)

Avoid trying anything new on the day of competition, and remember that foods high in fat or fiber slow digestion and may cause an upset stomach if consumed too close to competition.

Don't forget to continually hydrate. This will help you avoid cramps and heat illness.

Randy Berg is the head pro at the Incline Village Tennis Center.