The recipe for match fitness
Watford strength and conditioning coach Matt Springham on eating and drinking yourself into shape
1. Avoid the sickbed
If you’re training for a sustained period of time – like during pre-season training – you’re putting a lot of stress on your body,” says Springham. “ If you’re not fully accustomed to it you might get ill. The more you train the more vitamins and antioxidants you need, which means one thing: you need lots more fruit and vegetables.
2. Food for thought
Try and eat as many superfoods as possible. An easy way to spot a superfood is that they are often brightly coloured – blueberries, tomatoes, beetroot, carrots, cherries and pomegranate. If you struggle to eat enough fruit, slip them into your daily diet by substituting your mid-afternoon chocolate for fruit.
3. Nothing beats pineapples
If you’re only going to eat one fruit make it pineapple. They have powerful anti-oxidants, and there’s much research supporting its role in helping repair muscle. When you exercise you add stress to your body and this suppresses your immune system. Pineapple provides anti-oxidants that boost your immunity.
4. Protein + carbs = fast recovery
Aside from fruit, you need a good balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Get the right balance for breakfast with brown toast, two poached eggs and beans. For lunch you might have brown pasta with chicken in a tomato sauce and a side salad. For dinner, opt for something like tuna steak and rice. The quality of protein from tuna is better than from many food sources, boosting muscle growth and recovery.
5. Don’t forget to drink
When active, you need 4-6 litres of water a day. You want to supplement your intake with Powerade ION4. It contains four of the essential minerals lost in sweat, while the sodium in Powerade ION4 helps offset dehydration and the 19.5g of carbs will provide the required energy for pre-season training.