Rugby involves bursts of high intensity action, running, tackling, direction changes and collisions. Players have slightly different training goals based on their position on the field, but the nutrition requirements are the same for all because rugby is a very physically and mentally demanding sport.
1. Eating several meals during the day is crucial to get all the nutrients you need. Every meal should have substantial amounts of wholegrains, pulses, fruit and vegetables, and some nuts or seeds.
2. You need a lot of protein but try not to rely on processed foods too much – mock meats can be a useful addition topping up your protein intake but make sure to also eat lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu and edamame.
3. Before training, have something light to top up your energy – a banana, fruit and nut bar, or toast with nut butter and jam. Post-training, a smoothie with protein powder or a protein shake and fresh fruit will help to get some much needed protein and carbs to your muscles to recover.
4. Make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated before, during and after training. It’s not just essential to make up for fluid losses, it also prevents premature fatigue. For a long training or game day, an isotonic drink is best to keep your electrolytes up.
5. As your body has high protein requirements, you can add a small protein snack before bed – soya yoghurt with fruit, chia pudding with protein powder, or a protein bar.
Sample Meal Plan: Strength Athlete for sure and you may need even a little more!
Inspiration: Mirco Bergamasco, Darren Dawidiuk, Ben Cohen, Nick Blevins, Anthony Mullally, Johanna Jahnke
Anthony Mullally, Rugby League professional, on his diet change: “Now I look back I can’t believe I ever ate meat… I read up about physiology and anatomy and the more I looked into it, the more I personally came to the decision we are not designed to eat meat. I feel evidence is more compelling for a vegan diet.”