Repost from 12/28/09
What do we need as tennis players first from 'post match' or 'between match' meals ?
In addition to the abundance of liquids required to maintain an active and alert presence on court, eating fruits and/or complex carbs during changeovers is most helpful for the pending recovery process.
Fruits both fresh and dried are simple carbs used or assimilated rapidly into the body.
Complex carbs such as granola bars enter the blood stream more slowly and help store energy for longer term athletic demands.
The electrolyte balance in the body (water + minerals) must be continually monitored during periods of extended activity.
1. Sufficient water – that is drinking 'before' we become thirsty. Nice idea but not so realistic in the heat of day time tennis. Just keep drinking it.
Alternating quality sports drinks helps to relieve the bland taste that water can have at times and deliver necessary minerals sooner than food.
2. Potassium – Bananas are a favorite for athletes though high in sugar they provide some of this necessary mineral. Tomatoes, potatoes, & dried fruits are easily accessible foods that yield abundant amounts.
3. Sodium – Of course... this is well known but easily depleted from the body during extended periods of exertion which is exactly what tennis demands of its participants.
4. Calcium – Essential yet less well known as an integral part of the electrolyte balance. Dairy products of course provide high amounts in each serving, but for those who may be adverse to milk, shell fish & dark green vegetables also provide measurable supply.
With regard to the 'Recovery' topic: small meals, easy to prepare, and combining the necessary mineral supplements should be a routine part of any tennis players post match dietary pursuits.
(1) Frozen prepared meals like spaghetti are fast and also good for recovery offering the rapidly usable simple carbs in pasta, abundant potassium from the tomato sauce, and calcium when dried cheese is added.
(2) A baked potato yields some of the most rapid food absorption benefits on any table. The simple carbs are quickly utilized by the body and the skins have high nutritional value. As well, adding salt and butter, and/or sour cream contribute to the electrolyte recovery. Fresh, crisp bacon bits are just plain delicious adding some protein and necessary fat.
(3) Chocolate milk is the king of recovery foods according to - surprise - the website: www.chocolatemilk.com, along with several important studies like the journal 'Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism' (Feb.2009), that conclude: “Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks”
Another 2009 study from James Madison University found that chocolate milk drinkers have significantly lower levels of creatine kinase – an indicator of muscle damage – compared to when they drank the carbohydrate beverages 'Gatorade' and 'Endurox R4'.
It might not quench your thirst like water does, but milk appears to keep one hydrated longer. A study published in 2007 in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that 2 percent milk helped rehydrate and replenish extended exercisers better than either water or 'Powerade'.
As well, chocolate milk is more economical than even the carbohydrate powders.
FYI - This writer's favorite post match 'quick' meal consists of toasted raisin bread with peanut butter and thinly sliced bananas, salty potato chips, and a tall glass of cold milk... now to become chocolate milk!
Total preparation time: about three minutes and under five minutes to consume properly – chewing sufficiently well to allow more optimal absorption.