Basketball requires intermittent high-intensity performance, endurance and speed for running and manoeuvring, strength for jumping and throwing, agility, precision and tactical thinking. It requires long-lasting energy, increased protein intake and proper hydration.
1. Make sure you eat regularly throughout the day. Don’t skip meals. Each of your meals should contain good sources of complex carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscle maintenance.
2. A pre-game/training snack, about one hour before, is a must to give you extra energy. A smoothie is a good choice for both energy and hydration. Check out the Snacks section for more ideas.
3. Game/training snack and drink – if you’re playing/training for more than an hour, bring an energy bar or a banana to keep your energy levels up. You may also need an isotonic drink to replenish minerals lost through sweating.
4. Post-game you need some more carbs to replenish your muscle glycogen stores and protein for muscle recovery – ideally within 45 minutes of the game/training. A falafel wrap, beans on toast or protein shake with fruit are all good choices.
5. You burn a lot of energy so some healthy fats throughout the day will help you keep a healthy energy balance. It could be nuts and seeds, avocado, or cold-pressed oil drizzled over a salad or pasta. Just make sure you don’t eat anything fatty before you train.
Inspiration: Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, JaVale McGee, Wilson Chandler, Diana Taurasi, Cleanthony Early
Wilson Chandler, of the Brooklyn Nets, on his vegan diet change: “I sleep better, I wake up in a better mood, I recover faster, I’m not so inflamed, not so achy. I feel better overall, in everything that I do. I can take in more information easier. My mind is just open.”