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del 18 al 20 de junio de 2010
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Eat and drink properly during a tournament

- How important is it to eat and drink properly during a tournament? If I eat and drink just enough to cover my needs, will that be sufficient for me to have a good sport performance?
When we play sports we need extra nutrients and fluids to provide our organism with the required energy. Not eating and drinking properly can not only take its tall on our level of game, but also we can risk having an injury, fainting or, in the most severe cases, even death. During a tennis tournament, you have to play many hours with barely any time to recover between games, and thus it is vital to care for our diet.

- As for the pragmatic side, what is the best time to have breakfast? What space of time should I leave between breakfast and the first match in the morning?
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we must dedicate the necessary time to both the intake of the nutrients (a good breakfast is deemed to last a minimum of 15 minutes) and to their digestion (1.5 hours). During the digestion, a great amount of blood flows towards our digestive system, and we actually need that blood to flow towards our muscles when we are working out. To make sure we have digested properly we must leave approximately 1.5 hours between breakfast and the first match of the day.

- What is the most appropriate breakfast before a match?
The perfect breakfast before a match should be rich with carbohydrates. An example of this would be:
1 or 2 pieces of fruit
1 semi-skimmed dairy product (1 glass of semi-skimmed milk, 1 skimmed yogurt or 75g of fresh cheese) or a non dairy product (soja, oat or rice milk)
Cereals/ bread/ pastaor low-fat cookies
After breakftast, and before the beginning of the match, you must have and energy drink which you should take in small sips so as to avoid dehydration and a drop in sugar levels.

- If I have to play two matches almost consecutively in the same morning, what should I eat to gather up energy?
There are two basic aspects you must never forget throughout the tournament: dehydration and the supply of carbon hydrates. Energy drinks such as Viper are the best option to cover both needs in a fast and comfortable way. This means that both during and between matches we must drink these in small sips, and on top of that add one fruit, for example a banana, or an energy bar rich with carbohydrates, such as the Viper Extreme ones.

-What are the basic guidelines to be well hydrated during the whole match?
One of the key factors in determining the performance of a sports person is hydration. In fact a mere liquid loss of 2% jeopardizes our game and our health. We must learn to drink even before being thirsty, since thirst is already a sign that we are dehydrated to a certain degree. The best would be:
Half an hour before the match: 400-500 ml of water of energy drink
During the match: some 20ml of water or energy drink every 20minutes
After the match: a minimum of 500ml of energy drink and continue drinking until you no longer feel thirsty..

- During a match I never know the time available to have the proper meal of the day, that means, behind a table. If I have 1.5h to eat, what should I eat? And what if I only have 45 minutes or an hour? And if I have even less than that?
En caso de tener el tiempo suficiente como para “sentarnos a comer” de nuevo debemos hacer una comida rica en hidratos de carbono y un pequeño aporte de proteínas. Un buen ejemplo puede ser una ensalada de pasta con atún y un plátano de postre acompañado de agua.

In case you have enough time to sit properly to a table, you must, again you must eat a meal rich with carbohydrates and a small amount of proteins. A good example of this would be a pasta salad with tuna and, as a dessert, a banana, in addition to water. If you barely have 10 minutes to eat, you should turn to a combination of energy carbohydrates bars or to our friend the energy drink.

- What can I eat during the match to keep up the energy levels, and after it, to have a proper recovery?
To keep up energy levels during the match, the intake of sugars via energy drinks is crucial. You can also have some fruit between games. Once finished, you must care for recovering the level of liquids and glucogene. Again, a meal based on pasta, rice or potatoes, as well as a certain amount of protein (a tin of tuna or a boiled egg) would be the best option. Now the market offers products such as Recovermax, specifically designed to supply the necessary requirements for a proper recovery in one shake.

- Is it true that good hydration prevents muscle pulls?
Good hydraton not only prevents muscle pulls, but also muscle contractions or muscular strains and more injuries. When we sweat not only do we lose water, but also a great amount of mineral salts such as sodium or potasium, which are basic requirements of proper muscular functioning. To sum up, a fundamental aspect of anyone doing sports, be it amateur or professional, is learning to hydrate.

Aruka Chapinal

Training and education manager for Maximuscle
Qualified in Human Nutrition and Dietetics, UCM (University Complutense, Madrid)
Member of the Spanish Federation of Sport Medicine and member of the American College of Sports Medicine
Personal trainer and technician in supervised activities, FMG (Madrid Federation of Gymnastics)
Pilates trainer, Polestar
Coach, AECOP


Polideportivo Municipal Santo Domingo

What to eat before a game? And then? How important is hydration?

Nutritionist Chapinal Aruka answered all our questions.



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