If you are a serious badminton player, your job is to eat well so you can (1) enjoy high energy and prevent fatigue and (2) stay healthy. Here’s a look at these areas in greater detail.
Boosting energy to prevent both the daily fatigue that occurs during training and competitions, as well as the chronic fatigue that accumulates throughout the season, you need to focus on these three keys to boosting energy:
1. Eating carbohydrate-rich foods
You can boost energy by eating carbohydrate-rich foods (bread, cereals, rice, beans, pasta, fruit, juice, vegetables) as the foundation of your diet. Carbohydrates get stored in your muscles as glycogen.
Eating too few carbohydrates (&60 percent of total calories) can result in depleted muscle glycogen – and that is associated with fatigue.
Carbohydrate-rich meals include cereal/milk/banana/juice/bagels for breakfast and lunches and dinners that include hearty bean and broth-type soups, bready sandwiches and hot meals that focus on pasta, potato, rice, vegetables, and rolls. Juices throughout the day are an excellent carbohydrate-rich choice for fluids.
Although carbohydrates should be the foundation of your sports diet, your muscles also need adequate protein. You can get more than enough protein from your lunches and dinners (assuming they include chicken, fish, lean meats, peanut butter, tuna or other protein-rich foods).
By eating protein as the accompaniment to a carbohydrate-based meal, you’ll get the right balance of carbs and protein to fuel and build muscles.
2. Eating substantial carbohydrate-rich meals
You can boost energy by eating substantial carbohydrate-rich meals throughout the day. Do not wait until the evening for your biggest meal. Adequate daytime food ensures your muscles are well fueled and ready for action and your mind is well fueled and able to focus on the event.
Eating before you exercise boosts your blood sugar and prevents the needless fatigue associated with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
3. Drinking water
You can boost energy by drinking plenty of water or other non- alcoholic fluids to prevent dehydration.
You should drink enough fluids so you have to urinate every two to four hours. The urine should be clear and copious, not dark and concentrated with metabolic wastes. If you do not urinate, let’s say from 9 a.m. to 3 p. m., you are dehydrated and need to drink more fluids.
Your job as a serious athlete is to eat nutrient-dense foods that:
- enhance your immune system (to help protect your body from the stress of exercise and a busy life),
- enhance healing of the tiny injuries that occur during daily training and
- fortify your body in case you experience a major injury that requires surgery or serious healing.
Three keys to eating for optimal health include:
1. Eat a wholesome, hearty carbohydrate-rich breakfast such as a big bowl of cereal and a whole grain bagel. Research suggests people who fuel well at breakfast tend to eat a better (more wholesome) lunch and have a better diet throughout the day than do people who skip or skimp on breakfast.
The reason is, people who eat too little breakfast get too hungry. When you get too hungry, you are more likely to eat junk food (donuts, chips, soft drinks, candy) than wholesome bread, fruits, and juices.
2. Eat abundant fruits and vegetables. When you are eating on the run both at home and on the road, you can easily fail to consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
A simple way to boost your fruit intake is to have a tall glass of orange juice at breakfast, along with a big banana or other fruit on cereal, and then eat a double serving of colorful vegetables at lunch or dinner (such as a big salad or a generous portion of cooked vegetables).
3. Limit your fat intake. Of all the types of foods, fatty foods contribute to the biggest health and performance problems because of they:
- (1) fill your stomach but leave your muscles unfueled,
- (2) contribute to clogged arteries and heart disease, and
- (3) are calorie-dense and, in excess, can easily contribute to weight gain.
Your best bet is to eat only small portions of fatty foods or choose low-fat alternatives. For example, choose thicker- crust pizza with vegetable toppings and less thin-crust pizza topped with pepperoni and extra cheese; more bean burritos and fewer burgers; more spaghetti dinners and less cheesy lasagna; more frozen yogurt and less ice cream.
The Badminton Game Plan
Fueling well for badminton takes some planning, but is not hard to do if you do not get too hungry. Badminton players who plan poorly, skip meals, and get too hungry tend to eat more junk food and suffer the consequences of a poor sports diet: chronic fatigue and reduced health.
Your best bet to enhance the nutritional value of your diet is to pack in your badminton bag supply of non-perishable, carbohydrate-rich foods so you’ll always have nourishing food options readily available.
Popular sports foods that travel well include: juice boxes, pretzel rods, raisins, and dried fruits, trail mix, energy bars, granola bars, and even fig newtons or pop tarts.
At the last minute, add some perishable items, such as bagels, yogurt, apples, and sandwiches. (Carrying a small cooler can be helpful.) Clearly, you have to organize the time to shop for and pack the food, but the effort will be rewarded. You will always win with good nutrition!
Fuelling Up Whilst Playing The Game
There are no magic foods that will replace hard work and good training, but if you follow these simple ideas you are well on the way to helping to achieve your best performance.
Before a match/competition, it is important to top up on fuel stores. The meal should be familiar with. Do not experiment with new foods prior to competition. Eat at least 2-3 hours before competition to allow time for comfortable digestion. The meal should be high in carbohydrates and low in fat, protein, and fiber.
Ensure adequate fluid intake with your pre-event meal and if anxiety is a problem before an event, a liquid meal supplement can take the place of a solid meal e.g. fruit smoothies, commercial low-fat liquid meals…..and don’t forget to drink a glass of water.
Examples of pre-event meals (2-3 hours before competition) – breakfast cereal & skimmed milk (or low fat milk) & fresh/canned fruit – muffins or crumpet or toast with jam or honey – pancakes and syrup – fruit salad & low fat yoghurt – baked potatoes with low fat filling – toast and baked beans – pasta with low fat tomato sauce – roll or sandwich with banana filling
In events lasting longer than 90 minutes, you will benefit from taking fluid and some fuel (carbohydrate) during activity.
Suitable carbohydrate choices are:
- 500-1000ml Sports Drink
- 10-20 jelly beans
- 2-3 pieces of fruit
- 1 low-fat Sports Bar
- 1-2 low-fat Muesli/Breakfast Bars
When competing in several games over a day it’s important to have regular carbohydrate snacks in between events to top up fuel levels and help delay the onset of fatigue.
It’s important to be prepared and take suitable food along with you. Make sure it’s something you have tried before.
Under 1 hour between events: – water (provides fluid only) – sports drink (Carbohydrates & Fluid)
1 – 2 hours between events: – water (provides fluid only) – fruit juice, sports drink, fruit, soft drink, jelly babies, liquid meals.
2 – 3 hours between events: – rice cakes with banana/honey/jam, low-fat muesli bar, fruit, fruit bread, jam/honey sandwich
Eating for Recovery
Refuel your body with carbohydrates in the first 15 minutes after exercise and then again in 2 hours time. The amount of carbohydrate that needs to be consumed is between 50g – 100g. Drink water or sports drink regularly after training or competition.
Do We Really Need Supplements?
Athletes and non-athletes alike commonly practice vitamin and mineral supplementation. Tremendous quantities of vitamins and minerals are gulped down daily to improve health and performance.
Is supplementation really necessary?
Supplementation can benefit certain groups of individuals. Those individuals include people who restrict their calories such as runners, dancers, gymnasts and wrestlers to maintain a low body weight; people who eliminate certain food groups from their diet such as dairy products; people who eat too few fruits and vegetables; and those who eat a majority of their daily calories from fast foods or highly processed, convenient foods. All of these individuals are eating diets void of a sufficient amount of nutrients to maintain good health.
The most common vitamin deficiencies in the diet are for vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Vitamin overload is unlikely unless an individual is consuming large quantities of vitamin-fortified foods such as breakfast cereals or large doses of a specific supplement.
Eating a wide variety of foods assures exposure to the widest spectrum of nutrients without consuming too much of any single nutrient. Vitamins obtained from the diet are preferred over supplements because natural foods contain other important nutrients or phytochemicals that are not found in supplements.
Phytochemicals provide protective health and disease-fighting benefits. They are predominantly found in fruits and vegetables. If a person is nutrient-deficient because of their diet, then they should consume a better diet.
Vitamin and mineral supplementation can improve sports performance only in those athletes with a true deficiency. Taking more than the body needs will not enhance performance. Concentrate on consuming wholesome healthy foods instead of pills.
Badminton players who wish to be on the safe side of avoiding a deficiency may choose to take a multivitamin and/or mineral supplement each day or every other day. The supplement should not exceed the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) or adequate intake (AI) for vitamins and minerals. Overload may occur if the supplement contains many times the recommended amount.
This is the healthy diet practice that being preached by Deborah Drewke who is a registered dietician at Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department, Chicago, IL.
Choose products produced by nationally known manufacturers and those with the initials UPS (United States Pharmacopoeia) on the label. Reputable manufacturers often have strict quality control procedures and will more likely provide a reliable product.
Supplements with the UPS initials on the label have been tested for quality in terms of disintegration, potency or strength, and purity. UPS is a not-for-profit voluntary organization that sets standards assuring the integrity and uniformity of drugs and health care products.
The standards set by UPS are legally enforceable by the Food and Drug Administration. Let this be a guide since the supplement industry is not regulated.
Gatorade and Sports Drinks
In 1965, the University of Florida Gators football team was experiencing severe fatigue caused by the heat of the Florida swamp and the intense physical strain of playing the sport.
Upon conducting several tests, doctors and scientists discovered that the team’s performance was suffering because team members were not properly hydrated. In fact, most of the players failed to use the restroom even once during an entire football game.
This research led to the development of a carbohydrate-electrolyte infused drink called Gatorade. The Gator’s new sports drink proved invaluable. Game after game, the Gators outplayed their opponents, especially during the second half. Before long, coaches on opposing teams were asking about the beverage. And the rest is history.
Since Gatorade’s inception, many other manufacturers have introduced sports drinks creating more than $900 million per year beverage category within retailers across the United States. The Quaker Oats Company purchased Gatorade in 1983 and its share has grown to a commanding 85 percent of the total sports drinks category. Its Web site boasts worldwide sales of $2 billion per year.
Other large brands in the category include Powerade, SoBe Sport, and All Sport. Dollar sales for the sports drinks category have been steadily increasing in recent years and are up 9 percent this year vs. a year ago. Data Based on Information Resources, Inc., Shoppers Hotline household panel data, roughly 33 percent of U.S. households purchased sports drinks during the 52 weeks ending May 19, 2002.
The average household purchased 5.5 gallons of sports drinks during the one– year time frame, which translates into about 22 32-oz. bottles. As expected, households buying the product numerous times drove sales rather than households buying a large quantity on one or two shopping trips.
Among the households buying these sports drinks, 20 percent purchased more than one brand. Products like Gatorade, Powerade, and All Sport are heavily marketed to professional and amateur athletes who need a beverage that will replenish their bodies after intense exercise.
In fact, among households who buy sports drinks, sports drinks represent 30 percent of all of their shelf-stable drink and juice purchases. That figure is significant considering that sports drinks only represent 16 percent of total shelf-stable drinks/juices sales.
Recently, there has been a wave of new beverage products introduced into the marketplace such as flavored waters and other drinks enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and even caffeine, and more of these new drinks are on the way.
Some examples of new products are Quaker’s Propel, which is low-calorie, flavored water fortified with vitamins. Veryfine also makes the Fruit20 brand, which is a zero-calorie fruit-flavored product laced with vitamins and herbal additives. Dannon’s Fluoride to Go brand is a fluoridated brand marketed to parents concerned that their kids aren’t getting enough fluoride for their teeth.
Some of these products will surely steal some sales from sports drinks, however, IRI data suggests that these new items will create new consumer niches within the category. After all, Gatorade and a few other brands really own the “athlete re-hydration” space. In fact, the average drug store carries 10 Gatorade SKUs and the average supermarket carries 32 Gatorade SKUs for that reason.
Retailers should try to find new shelf space for the new products as opposed to taking shelf space from existing sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and All Sport. A potential source of space might be from energy drinks, such as Red Bull, whose sales started out strong but have been gradually flattening.