When it comes to fuelling your body for a rugby game, the prominent focus should be carbs. Why? Because carbohydrates are our bodies primary fuel source for energy, of which you’ll need a lot of during an intense 80 minute rugby match.
Ideally you need to ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of carbs the day before a match, but for the purposes of this article I am going to make some recommendations on what you can eat on match day to ensure you are fuelled up, then what you can eat/drink post match for optimal recovery.
But how do I know? Well my background is in sports nutrition, and I was also chief cook (and head cheerleader) to my ex rugby player boyfriend. I spent 4 years preparing various pre and post match meals, so I’ve sussed out some of the best meals and snacks.
10am -Begin the day with a bowl of porridge oats with a scoop of protein powder. Or try my Carrot Cake Overnight Oats. This will provide you with plenty of slow burning carbs and protein to prevent muscle breakdown. You want to eat your largest meal around 4 hours before the game, with snacks just before hand to ensure you don’t have vast amounts of food sitting on your stomach – that’s never going to end well.
1pm – You are likely to be on your way to or already at the ground, so snacks that are portable are necessary. I would recommend a flapjack and piece of fruit like a banana. You want to continue to fill up your glycogen (carb) stores with the oats, and the banana will provide you with some faster acting energy from the natural sugars – perfect for getting out for those warm up sprints. You could try making my Easy Banana Nut Flapjacks which provide everything you need and are delicious.
3pm – Match (you may want to use an isotonic drink at half time and fruit if you can stomach it).
5pm – Immediately post match you want to get in some fast acting protein such as a whey protein based shake.
7pm – Within around 1 hour of being off the pitch you want to try and get a decent meal down. Ideally something with adequate carbs to refuel the empty tank and food based protein. I would recommend something like my Smoky Chipotle Chicken served with rice.
Now whilst I do know a lot about fuelling the body for exercise and I make a mean protein cheesecake, I know very little about the rules of a rugby match. So I’m off to read Maxinutrition’s Ultimate Bluffers Guide to Rugby so at least I can pretend to understand when the ref’s whistle goes…