In a previous post, here on Hutkay.fit we discussed the many merits of playing squash, and its positive effects on your health. From improving your blood circulation to increasing your flexibility, squash is a dynamic physical and mental activity that can keep you strong and sharp. However, in order to reap the full benefits of playing the sport, you have to be able to perform at a high level. Aside from putting in the work at the gym, you can always fine-tune your diet to help you be in the best shape for matches. Here we have five nutrition tweaks you should consider today.
# 1: Choose to be Complex
Squash is a racket sport that will definitely take a lot out of you. To sustain a certain level of energy throughout the match, your body should be running on optimum fuel. By eating complex carbohydrates, you will have more energy because the body takes longer to process them. As you plan your meals, try to include berries, kale, legumes, nuts, seeds, spinach, and whole grains into the mix, as these will keep your energy levels high and ensure you are competitive throughout your squash games.
# 2: Drink and Perform
Many tend to forget that keeping your H20 levels in check is a crucial part of every athlete’s nutrition. If you step onto the court and your throat is parched, you will already be at a disadvantage as you may be closer to muscles cramps than you think. To avoid this, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center advises that adult males should be drinking up to 125 ounces of liquid daily, while females should consume 91 ounces. Every 15 to 20 minutes of physical activity, you should also be taking between four and eight ounces of fluids. As squash is a grueling sport, bringing a sports energy drink is a great idea. It would also be wise to consider getting a healthy dose of calcium before bed. Health IQ states that drinking a glass of milk before bed not only fires up your metabolism, but also facilitates muscle recovery.
# 3: Timing is Everything
Nutrition consultant Riska Platt, M.S., R.D. advises that you should take a pre-game meal two hours before the event. Aside from not overeating, you should also stay away from saturated fats, which may take longer to digest and may hinder the release of energy throughout your muscles. After all, every swing should be crisp and strong. During the game, Platt explains that raisins or a banana on hand can restock your used-up carbs, especially for the high-intensity-natured sport that is squash. After the game, always remember to replenish your fluids and eat protein-rich foods to aid muscle repair.
# 4: Ditch Junk food
It’s true: eating sweets can supply you with a surge of energy and alertness. However, what many athletes forget is that this boost is short-lived because there is an inevitable crash once your body has processed all that sugar and calories. Possible result: you’ll be experiencing a performance dip while out on the floor. As squash is fast-paced, you cannot afford this to happen.
# 5: Control Your Portions
Squash is about being light on your feet, as mobility and agility are key factors to winning. Just like any other athlete keeping a strict diet, you want to exercise portion control and restraint during meals. While you may be eating healthy types of food, exceeding your amounts per serving may lead to unnecessary weight gain and wreak havoc on your body. Consistency, in every sense of the word, is the cornerstone of a successful diet.