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By Team ON 4 years ago 10513 Views No comments

Saracens nutritionist George Morgan, continues his explanation of pre-season nutrition prep.

The three core elements of a solid pre-season guide are protein intake, fuelling sessions, and pre-bed nutrition. We’ve covered protein intake, let’s take a look at fuelling sessions and pre-bed nutrition.

Fuelling your sessions

Total energy, or calories you consume daily is important. Eating suitable carbohydrates and good sources of fat ensure that you are heading into sessions optimally fuelled to lift heavy and power the body processes to grow adequate muscle. Slow releasing sources of carbohydrates should be eaten before gym sessions to ensure that energy levels are maintained with slightly quicker releasing sources for the post workout meal to support recovery

Always eat before gym sessions. The goal of the session is to increase strength and power so you need something on board. To minimise stomach issues this should be eaten at least 30 minutes before the session and include a complete protein source. It is not necessary to eat during sessions under 45 minutes – 1 hour. But if the session is going longer it’s a good idea to include a BCAA supplement during your session such as ON’s Gold Standard BCAA.

Remember to hydrate

Hydration is important during each session to ensure training intensity is maintained. At high intensities in warm conditions cramp can become an issue with players. While dehydration is not the whole story behind what causes cramp it can be a risk. Here are a few simple pointers to help you monitor your hydration:

  • Weigh yourself in the morning pre breakfast
  • Note if you are thirsty or experience dry mouth (a likely symptom on inadequate fluid intake)
  • If your urine colour is not clear or slightly coloured, you may be dehydrated
  • Weigh yourself post session (with your top off and dried off). Every kilo lost represents 1 litre of water lost that you’ll need to replace over the coming hours. Some guidelines point to 1.5 litres of water per kg to optimally rehydrate but as long as you are replacing what is lost you are making huge strides in the right direction.

So, to recap, hydration and muscle building is important because:

• It allows athletes to tolerate high intensity training better

• It allows athletes to take hits on the pitch

• Reduces risks of muscle cramps that may impact quality of training and limit potential adaptations.

Eating post sessions:

Once your work in the gym and on the pitch is complete, you need to consider your work in the kitchen. Keep these five points in mind: Always try to eat within 30 minutes of finishing your gym session to support your hard-working muscles. This meal should contain both protein repair and grow muscles and carbohydrates to restock the muscle carbohydrate stores. If you won’t be sitting down to a meal for couple of hours, then a whey protein and carbohydrate recovery shake is a good idea. At Saracens we use Optimum Nutrition’s 2:1:1 Recovery which delivers a precise 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to staged proteins, including Hydrolysed Whey, Egg Albumen and Micellar Casein proteins to aid muscle rebuilding and growth. Try to get some colorful fruit and vegetables onto the plate or into a smoothie for the extra nutrients. If there is no actual food available then a whey and protein protein carbohydrate recovery shake or a Gold Standard protein shake and a banana would be ideal to fill this gap until you can find food.

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

You can follow George on Twitter: @morgangmr.