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National

Nutrition for Tennis:

Eat and Drink to Win

Tara Gidus Collingwood
Tennis Action at the USTA National Championships at the Phoenix Tennis Center in Phoenix Arizona.
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Knowing what to eat and drink on and off the court can make a difference on the court. Follow these nutrition tips to help you perform like a pro.

 

Nutrition: The food you put in your body directly impacts your performance on the court. Focus on whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats to play at your best.

 

WHEN WHAT HOW MUCH
BEFORE (3-4 hours prior)                                                 carbs + protein + fat                                                           meal                                                                       
BEFORE (15-60 minutes) carbs snack
DURING (every hour) carbs 30-60 grams 
AFTER (<30 minutes after)   carbs + protein snack
AFTER (<2 hours after) carbs + protein + fat meal

 

Carbs: Gatorade sports drinks, energy chews, fuel bars, or energy gels; fruit; granola bars; cereal + milk; rice cakes; air-popped popcorn.

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Carbs + protein: Gatorade protein shakes or protein bars; chocolate milk + granola bar; cottage cheese + fruit; hard-boiled egg + pretzels; apple + nut butter; turkey jerky + grapes; bean- or broth-based soup

 

Carbs + protein + fat: sandwich (bread + meat + cheese + veggies); yogurt parfait (Greek yogurt + fruit + granola + nuts); smoothie; hummus + pita chips + veggie sticks; peanut butter & jelly sandwich; breakfast burrito (tortilla wrap + scrambled eggs + cheese + veggies)

 

Multiple Events

In tennis, it’s common to have more than one event in a day. Whether it’s morning and afternoon practices or back-to-back matches, refueling between events is key to performing consistently throughout the day. The amount of downtime that you have determines what and how much you should eat.

  • 1 hour: fluids (e.g., sports drink)
  • 1-2 hours: small snack (e.g., granola bar, banana)
  • >2 hours: large snack (e.g., sandwich, chocolate milk, yogurt parfait)

 

Tips

  • Eat within one hour of waking up to set the tone for your day and within 30 minutes of stopping play to allow your body to start the recovery process.
  • Avoid trying anything new on the day of competition.
  • Foods high in fat or fiber slow digestion and may cause an upset stomach if consumed too close to competition.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate—this will help you avoid cramps and heat illness.

 

Want to take this information with you on the go or to your next tournament? Click here to download it in a PDF

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