There are two types of diet in rugby: the liquid diet and the diet that involves not really thinking about what you're eating because you know you'll burn it off during the game. But, former England ace turned foodie, Matt Dawson, shows us how to eat your way to victory.
Little and often
"You should be eating five or six times a day. Try to get into the habit of having a very substantial breakfast; porridge, toast, eggs on toast, if you want to have your bacon and egg sandwich then go for it. I'd trim a bit of the fat off the bacon, have some brown bread, avoid butter. From there you're eating every two or three hours. Things like fruit, nuts, hummus with pitta breadpack of bread, all those little snacks you eat throughtout the day, there's some really good ways of staying full. Over the day, you're probably eating just as much, but you're spreading it out so your body can absorb it and use it to help you carry it on during the day.
Fuel your body
"Protein is a key part of your diet, most of it should be consumed after training. If you've exerted yourself quite hard, you've got to get in whatever you can to replenish those stocks within 20 or 30 minutes. You've got to refuel it so it can do it again the next day. if you miss that window you do miss that opportunity to replenish the muscles and the systems of your body, so that they can grow and become stronger."
"On game day the temptation is to drink a load of energy drinks because you think that's where they're going to get your energy from. If anything that can subdue your energy levels because they're not used properly. The secret is to work your way from water, but not too much as you'll wash out all your essential nutrients. Maybe starting off drinking a half and half mix of energy drink and water, as it gets closer to the game, maybe three quarters mix, and then half an hour before the game, start loading up so you're ready to go, so that when it comes to kick off all your energy stores are full."
During the game
"At half time Jelly Babies are good to replenish those lost sugars and salts and the glycogen stores. Before the game some people have a really strong coffee to give them that caffeine kick."
Matt Dawson is an ambassador for Redwood Creek wine. For more information visit redwoodcreekchallenge.co.uk.
Main image: Rex