Until you understand how a good tennis diet can improve your performance you will not be convinced to make the necessary changes to your eating habits.
You all know how important energy is to your game but energy is not simply a huge bowl of pasta. You need a number of other nutrients to turn the starch in the pasta into energy.
You also need to time your food intake correctly so that what you eat is used immediately as energy or is stored for your muscles to use at a later time.
How much you eat is also important so as to ensure your muscles are fully fuelled. Eat too little and you fail to recover completely, eat too much and you start to store fat.
So type of food, quantity and timing are all important.
Your immune system is also responsible for giving you energy. If you are constantly fighting off bugs, you will feel tired even if you are well enough to play.
Many different nutrients are involved in immune function but there are certain nutrients that weaken it. Yet these same weakening agents can be beneficial but only if eaten at a particular time.
With our soil being deplete or containing less of so many minerals nowadays, our food is not as nutritious as it once was. It is therefore extremely important to eat as many nutrient dense foods as possible every single day and limiting those foods that may be high in calories but low in vitamin and mineral content.
So types of food as well as timing are important for optimum immune function.
If your diet is substandard, this will affect the quality of your sleep. Not sleeping well doesn’t only affect your energy levels but also affects your hormones, your ability to repair tissue, your mental focus on court as well as your immunity.
As with immunity, certain nutrients that could be detrimental to sleep – but useful to your game – can still be eaten but only if timed properly.
So quality and timing of foods are important.
Very few people realise that some foods are anti-inflammatory and others pro-inflammatory. In times of injury, you need to cut down all pro-inflammatory foods and increase foods which promote healing. Even if you’re unable to train, you will need to increase your caloric intake (this is not a typo; I did say ‘increase’)so as to promote repair. This can be done without inducing weight gain if the correct foods are eaten.
So types of foods and quality are very important to speed up the repair process.
You wouldn’t believe how many tennis players are dehydrated! Hydration is not related to thirst. By the time you’re thirsty, you are definitely already dehydrated. Dehydration results in reduced performance.
So continually sipping water throughout the day is paramount if you want to stay hydrated.
Have I convinced you yet?
If you’re serious about your sport, get serious about your nutrition.
For more information on tennis nutrition, free products and videos, go to http://nutritionfortennis.com/
Kathryn is the Managing Director and founder of Corpotential, a sports nutrition consultancy, based in London, England. Kathryn trained both in general as well as sports nutrition. She works with a number of tennis academies and individual athletes of all ages and levels. Kathryn is passionate about injury rehabilitation through nutrition and works with a local speed, performance and injury rehabilitation clinic.
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