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By George Morgan Saracen's Nutritionist 4 years ago 10508 Views No comments

In the first of a series of blog posts, SARACENS Nutritionist George Morgan takes us through the nutritional strategies that help build muscle mass during pre-season. He offers real world tips to help anyone looking to make improvements to their day to day nutrition.

The sun is shining, the weather is clear and that only means one thing in professional rugby; pre-season is here. Whilst the rest of the northern hemisphere prepare for summer holidays on the beach, professional athletes take to dusty training pitches and put their bodies through extreme hardship to improve on last season’s achievements.

Most athletes come into pre-season with a few goals in common; they want increase lean muscle mass and reduce total body fat. These changes will represent distance covered in brutal conditioning games to make themselves bigger, faster, and stronger.

Each athlete’s success depends on their lifestyle off, as well as on, the training pitch. The benefit of intense training sessions can be undone by disorganised eating or a weekend living the high life.

First things first…

Before any diet plan is undertaken it is important to have a full dietary and body assessment carried out by a suitably-qualified individual to establish key behaviours and set baselines for body composition changes.

Simple Food Frequency questionnaires and multi-day dietary recalls can be used in tandem to build a picture of eating habits. Body composition can be measured in a variety of ways, either by DEXA scan (a low level x-ray) or by a manual eight site skin fold analysis which should be administered by an ISAK practitioner.

Once these steps are complete a diet and behaviour guide is created to help the athlete. Working with Saracens, I focus all pre-season guides around 3 simple pillars:

  • Protein intake
  • Fueling sessions
  • Pre-bed nutrition

The correct combination of these factors in along with a suitable resistance training programme should lead to an increase in muscle mass.

Go to Saracens/ON blog for more from Saracens Nutritionist George Morgan:

You can follow George on Twitter: @morgangmr.