Tracy Meyerson, founder of GoodHabits.Guru, is a lifestyle transformation health coach who believes that health must be viewed holistically and that good health can be sustained through a combination of proper sleep, exercise, diet and stress management. A RRCA-Certified Run Coach Level 1, champion marathoner and 50 States Marathon Club Member, Tracy knows well the arena of wellness, and holds an Integrative Health Coach certification by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN).
Q. Tennis matches can last anywhere from 1-3 hours. How soon do you think a player should eat prior to competition, and what type of pre-match food options do you recommend?
A. Nutrition choices can make or break your performance. Food fuels your body and your brain. If you really want to be on top of the game, fuel well.
The first rule of Tennis nutrition is that no rule works for everyone. You need to practice nutrition for your fun matches and practices, so you will know what works for your body when you get to an important match. I recommend keeping a nutrition log. Note pre-match meals and how they make you feel. Be sure to note not only what you eat, but how much and how long before your match.
A general guideline is to eat 1 to 3 hours before your match. Your pre-match meal should be mostly good carbs with moderate protein. Sample meal ideas:
It is always good to carry some snacks in your tennis bag. If your meal is several hours before your match or your match lasts several hours, you may need a snack. Great snacks include: energy bars, peanut butter sandwich, fruit or nuts.
A good rule of thumb is: Carbs before, protein after. The Carbohydrates provide easily usable energy to keep you strong during the match. After a tough match, you want to have protein to rebuild your muscles. How much of either of these depends on the intensity and duration of the workout and your size. Keeping a food log can help you dial in on your own nutrition, but check with a nutritionist or your doctor if you have worries. Keeping your body fueled properly can greatly prolong your tennis career.
Happily serving you,