England 7s Talk... Tounament Day Nutrition
May 12, 2017
As a professional rugby player, looking after your body is extremely important.
The experts say that the key to success as an athlete is 70% diet and 30% physical activity which tells us that if you look after your body off the field, the playing side will look after itself. But just how important is a 7s players eating habits on game day? We recently caught up with the experienced Tom Bowen, as well as developing players, Will Glover and Callum Sirker to discuss the importance of tournament day nutrition.
The night before a tournament, what does your dinner typically consist of?
(TB) A lot of carbs and easily digestible proteins, I try to stay away from red meat as it stays in your stomach for longer. I also try to drink loads of water making sure I’m are always hydrated.
(WG) The hotel normally puts on a spread for us, I usually head over to the pasta bar to get the carbs in which is important for slow-release energy as well as some fruit and veg.
(CS) A lot! We try to stay away from red meats as it takes longer to digest so I normally have chicken and a lot of carbs for slow release energy for the next day.
On the morning of a tournament, what do you eat for breakfast?
(TB) I try and stick to what I’m used to so I would normally have bacon and eggs. As we are in so many different countries, it would be quite easy to try new things but I like to stick to my usual.
(WG) I try to eat what I would when I’m at home so some scrambled egg, bacon and a bowl of fruit salad.
(CS) I try not to have anything too heavy because the last thing I want is to get to a game and be feeling full so a few carbs and some fruit usually does the trick.
You’ll normally play 3 matches in a day. How do you manage your eating during this time?
(TB) Depending on how much time we have between games. If we have a short gap then we will have a protein shake and a carbohydrate supplement straight after our 1st game. If we’ve got long enough then we will get a meal in, so a little bit of chicken with some carbs (rice or pasta). I tend to eat a lot of sugary snacks in between to keep my energy levels up.
(WG) I’ve played in a few academy tournaments but the World Series is completely different as there is a lot more time between games. We are usually encouraged to have a meal straight after a game as it gives your body more time to digest the food but I tend to wait until I’m hungry and grab a sandwich or something light.
(CS) You don’t ever want to feel like you’re being weighed down, so throughout the day, I eat small meals/snacks just to give me energy bursts in between games. There’s a dining room at each venue for the players and they put everything out but you’ve just got to be sensible.
“You don’t ever want to feel like you’re being weighed down…”
What will you eat after Day 1 of a tournament?
(TB) We try to stay away from red meat and green veg because it takes a while to digest. Usually the meal would consist of a protein and some carbs. It’s a bit bland but having the right type of foods in your diet is key.
(WG) Like the night before the tournament, the hotel puts a spread on and we try to eat a lot of pasta and chicken. We tend to stay away from red meat as it takes longer to digest and are always being told to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
(CS) Protein to recover is key and then loads of carbs again for another energy burst along with fruit and veg. I try to eat as much as I can to refuel my body.
How important is your diet during a 2-day tournament?
(TB) The way I eat in the tournaments doesn’t really affect me that much. It’s all about managing my food intake and sugar levels. It’s more important for me to pay a lot more attention to my diet during training and the weeks leading up to a tournament.
(WG) I feel like it’s massively important. I was at school last year and didn’t really think about diet but now that I do, you can definitely tell the difference in how your body feels before a game. Sometimes it’s the small one percenters but they all add up which has definitely helped me.
(CS) It’s massive. If you get your diet and your sleep right then the playing takes care of itself. I take a food first approach because it is so important not only to performance but also recovery.