Whether preparing for the club championship or the U.S. Open, a healthy diet and body can clearly contribute to a player’s quest to reach peak performance. Tennis athletes of all ages try to find that extra edge that could help improve their overall athletic ability. Countless hours on the practice court are definitely important, but athletes’ full potential can be hindered without proper fueling strategies.
It is essential for tennis athletes to give their bodies the right nutrients. In turn, they will be rewarded with higher energy, more muscle for strength and power, and faster recovery. A winning sports diet consists of several components including: wholesome meals that include high-quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats; proper hydration strategies; energy boosting mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks; and most importantly, post-workout/ practice/ competition recovery nutrition. When these components are incorporated in a consistent manner, athletes are more likely to reach both their fitness and performance goals.
Even though the importance of nutrition is the same for all athletes, they must also understand that there is not a “one size fits all” sports diet. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes; what one athlete eats may not be the best for another. That is why it is suggested that athletes meet with a Sports Dietitian to establish the best sports diet for that individual. Don’t get discouraged, it can take some experimenting with different foods and timing of meals, but once the athlete finds the best eating regimen (in addition to optimal training and recovery), success is almost inevitable.
Below is an example one-day food plan to help athletes’ ace nutrition.
- Breakfast: Scrambled Egg and Mozzarella Breakfast Pizza
- Snack: Greek yogurt and slivered almonds.
- Lunch: Turkey avocado wrap with raw carrots and a cheese stick.
- Post-workout recovery: Low-fat Chocolate Milk (8 ounces for every hour on the court)
- Dinner: Baked Fish Au Gratin with brown rice and steamed broccoli.
- Snack: Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie
Jamie Meeks, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN is a registered dietitian and certified sports specialist in dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jamie serves as the head sports dietitian for the Louisiana State University helping fuel LSU Student-Athletes for success on & off the field. @HealthyTigerLSU