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Food For Fuel

Sam Rapira of New Zealand helps himself to lunch during a media day

Photo: Getty Images


Carbohydrates are a main food type that provides energy for the body. As a player, being carbohydrate aware improves power-based sporting activities. Consuming the right amounts of carbohydrates for activity and performance can make a significant difference to on-pitch performance.

The following documents will help you better understand the role of carbohydrates. What is the relationship between carbohydrate and insulin? Do you know what happens in your body when you eat carbohydrates? How is glycemic index related to carbohydrates and performance?

When correctly applied, an understanding of factors such as blood energy, the insulin response and the glycemic index helps all athletes, including rugby players, improve their chances of winning.

Blood Sugar Control

The following downloadable document entitled Blood Sugar Control (MS Word DOC 88kB) is taken from a series of articles written by Rugby Sports Nutritionist, Matt Lovell, and includes nutrition strategies and information applicable to players at Academy through to Elite player level. It includes:

  • The Insulin Response
  • Top Tips to manage fat
  • What You Can Do - General Tips
  • The Glycemic Index of Foods
  • GI Food List

Match Day Nutrition and Hydration

Proper recovery from training and pre-match day eating habits are vital to a rugby player’s performance. The art of entering an event fully prepared is hugely valuable and means a player has consumed enough to have all the energy required for a match. Glycogen loading should have taken place over the preceding 48-72 hours (2-3 days). The athlete should not feel either hungry or full, and should be ready to take their pre-match drinks and supplements where appropriate.

The following downloadable match day nutrition and hydration strategy outlines a plan for an elite rugby player leading up to the match, and then outlines the key techniques for replacing lost carbohydrates and fluids post-match recovery. Match Day and Post Match Nutrition (MS Word DOC 85kB).


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