Eating properly will enhance your enjoyment of rugby, but it’s a complex science and you will need to take professional advice for your specific body type and exercise level.
If you’re looking to take it seriously, you’ll need to vary your diet to match your training schedule, and ramp it up to a big, carb-loading meal the night before a match, or on the day of the match. Be careful though – if you overdo the pre-match meal, your legs can feel heavy during the game, and many people can’t eat at all on the day of a match due to nerves.
Your diet will naturally depend on the amount and intensity of your training and playing. A top class player training four times a week and playing a fast, physical match will need several thousand calories a day. Casual players training once or twice a week will need much less, so it’s important to consult a dietitian (your club’s physio may help) to ensure you’re getting the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and fast calories to help you train, play, recover and build muscle mass effectively.
So the following should be taken purely as a general guide to nutrition for beginners:
Eating for peak game performance begins well ahead of match day, so you can store up maximum levels of glycogen in your muscles ready for the match. And bear in mind that what you eat and drink during your training schedule – as well as the timing of meals and snacks - can make a huge difference to how effective it is. A good approach to training diet would be:
MATCH PERFORMANCE NUTRITION
During the game
After the game