Competition Nutrition – What, When and How Much?

One of the most popular questions asked during Wimbledon, What is in that drink the players are drinking?”

Answer: It is a precise formula made up predominately of carbohydrates and electrolytes (salt and minerals).

The next question is usually, Why are they drinking that?”

Answer: When you play tennis for longer than 60 minutes, you begin to deplete carbohydrate and electrolyte stores. If you fail to keep those stores topped up, you will get tired quicker; your concentration levels will lower, and your reaction time on court will get slower.

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It’s essential to maintain the same intensity and focus on court for the duration of the match if you want to win it…

Professional players keep their carbohydrate and electrolyte stores topped up via a drink formula because it’s the easiest way to maintain intensity and performance. Sometimes, they will consume food in the form of a banana or an energy bar, but here’s why consuming liquid nutrition on court is the best option:

  1. It’s physically more practical than eating a big meal
  2. It will digest faster, therefore the nutrients can be utilised by the body quicker.    
  3. Consuming food can sit heavily in the gut and therefore slow you down on court as a consequence.

So now you know you MUST consume both carbohydrates and electrolytes during tennis matches that last longer than 60 minutes, what’s the best practical strategy to do this?

1) Here is how to top up electrolytes:

 

Consuming water with added salt
 

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Coconut water is a good alternative to plain water as it naturally contains electrolytes with some additional flavouring.
 

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The ideal way is to consume sports drinks. Sports drinks contain a very specific solution to comprise the correct water to electrolyte ratio, with the added benefit of a pleasant flavour. Three companies I recommend are: Gatorade, Powerade and Lucozade Sport.
Squash or cordials are not recommended, as the electrolyte levels are too low.

2) Here are good sources of carbohydrates to keep your stores topped up:

  • Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, Lucozade)
  • Sports gels (SIS, High 5, MyProtein)
  • Fruit
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Energy bars (Cliff bar, SIS energy bars, cereal bars)
  • Jam sandwich

My recommendation: consuming a sports drink is OPTIMAL because it contains both carbohydrates AND electrolytes in ONE drink.

I would recommend consuming primarily liquid nutrition on court for ease. With that being said, it’s personal preference therefore if you would prefer to consume food instead, that is perfectly adequate.  

Real world application: It’s best to consume your on court nutrition in small amounts regularly, rather than all in one sitting. This reduces the stress on the digestive system.

Individual recommendations will be different depending on the context and person, but previous blogs outline average quantities of carbohydrates and electrolyte (hydration) strategies needed to maintain optimal tennis performance.  

Side note: It’s best to try your on court nutrition strategy in training first because you don’t know how your body will react to particular foods during intense exercise, and you don’t want to be caught short during a competitive match.

Yours in Health,

Steph

Former Totally Tennis performance player Steph Catlin has founded Food Is Life, a sports nutrition consultancy business based in Basingstoke. If you would like to learn more about how to achieve your personal nutrition goals and for specific personal advice please contact Steph directly via foodislifeuk@gmail.com via her website www.foodislifeuk.com or visit her social media channels FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Read more nutrition advice in previous posts  Is Nutrition The Missing Puzzle Piece to Your Ultimate Tennis Performance?Do You Suffer With Performance Dips During a Tennis Match and Protein Isn’t Just For Body Builders

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Catlin Joins The Totally Tennis Coaching Team

Former Totally Tennis Performance player Stephanie Catlin has joined the Totally Tennis coaching team. Catlin who has a Sports and Exercise Science and Communication degree will be available for coaching every Thursday at the indoor centre.

After completing her studies at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) as of part of a four tennis scholarship Catlin returned to the UK and studied for her Masters degree in Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. She started playing at the club from a young age first in junior squads before quickly progressing into the performance programme, she played as part of the successful Brighton Hill Community College tennis team and also represented Queen Marys College in the Ladies and Mixed teams.

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During her time at the club she achieved many great things including winning many singles and doubles titles, represented Hampshire in various county team events, including winning the county Road to Wimbledon singles title and going on to represent the club and county at Wimbledon in the Nationals finals. Along with doubles partner and now fellow coach Ben Jubin, she was part of the victorious QMC team that won the Senior Schools National Mixed Doubles Championships. While at university in America she captained the UNC Bears Women’s Tennis team in her senior year and was a key member of the women’s Oxford Brookes university 1st team that won the BUCS Midland league.

Catlin brings her extensive playing and match experience as well as her fitness and nutrition knowledge to the club, we sat down with Steph and asked her a few questions about her tennis career and her return to Totally Tennis as a coach……

When did you start playing tennis and where?

At the grand old age of 8, at Totally Tennis… little did I know it would become my childhood’s second home  

What’s your greatest tennis achievement so far?

Obtaining a 4-year tennis scholarship to a Division 1 University in the USA. It still makes my heart skip a beat talking about it 3 years on, because it was the most incredible, fun, life changing experience. If you ever wonder what it feels like to be treated like royalty, just go to the USA on a tennis scholarship

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Playing doubles. The passion and intensity during a game of doubles is a completely different vibe to singles. If and when you find a partner that you just ‘click’ with on court, it’s a beautiful form of art. I was lucky enough to experience that in my tennis career!

Who inspired you most in the game? 

Serena Williams, without a doubt, On court she somehow makes top players in the world look like semi-pros. Off court she is an excellent role model with not only a great personality, but has a great attitude towards life. Her passion and drive to achieve greatness regardless of all the haters out there is very inspiring to me.

How did you find the transition from player to coach?

Relatively easy to be honest, and there is one key reason for that. I grew up playing at TT with quality coaching. Being surrounded by that daily it was engrained into me from a young age how to work with players of all different ages, genders and abilities, and to be successful by treating each player as an individual.

What made you take up a career in sports nutrition?

When in the USA we would train twice a day, 6 or 7 days a week, depending on our match schedule. Along with that I completely dove into American eating habits, I ate A LOT of food!! I thought it was okay because of all the exercise I did. On my return to the UK I stopped exercising and cleaned up my diet… the positive impact it had on both my mind and body was insane! Since going though my own transformation, I couldn’t stop reading and researching anything and everything to do with food and nutrition. It sounds cheesy I know, but I look back now and I know nutrition and helping others was my calling in life!

What is your favourite part about being a nutritionist?

Of course I love helping people improve their body physically as that’s what most people come to me for. But for me as their nutrition coach, I love seeing improvements in other areas of their lives. Energy levels soar through the roof, improvements in sleep quality and a better handle on dealing with stress. Feeling physically stronger, better focus and productivity at work, and generally finding happiness and content from within. THAT is what good nutrition does, and that’s what it’s all about for me

What do you hope to achieve coaching at Totally Tennis?

I want to inspire. It’s about everyone working as a team and creating an environment that is motivating, hard working and of course, fun. I want to get more adults into playing tennis and I want to make sure the up and coming youngsters know of the fantastic opportunities out there for them in tennis. Genuinely, I hope to give something back to a sport that has moulded me into the person I am today!

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For coaching enquiries please contact Totally Tennis on 01256 358816, via email tt@totallytennis.co.uk or visit the website www.totallytennis.co.uk

For nutrition enquiries please contact Steph via her website www.foodislifeuk.com or on her social media FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Protein Isn’t Just For Body Builders

One of the biggest concerns for athletes is to make sure that they recover effectivelyIf players are constantly sore and tired their ability to train or compete at the intensity and level that they need to on the tennis court will be reduced.

In a previous posts I talked about the importance of carbohydrates as well as the importance of hydration and in this post I’m focusing on protein!

As an athlete, you have an increased need for protein in your diet. When you play tennis, or do any form of exercise, you break down muscle tissue. The body uses protein to break down muscle tissue, which leaves it in a negative protein balance (a catabolic state) after exercise. To keep your on-court intensity high and recovery on point, it’s essential to repair the damaged muscle and to do this, your body needs to be in a positive protein balance (an anabolic state).

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Without a positive protein balance within the body, your body doesn’t have the right type or amount of fuel to repair the damaged muscles… Now we know a positive protein balance is fundamental, how do we achieve it? By eating lots of protein!  

A source of protein needs to be eaten at every single meal. Consistent, regular feedings of protein have been proven to be essential for overall tennis performance and optimal recovery. Good sources of protein include: meat, fish, dairy products, eggs and protein shakes.

Regular protein feedings are essential for other reasons too, for example it helps to keep you fuller for longer, which is very important from a body composition perspective. The harder you train and compete, the more important role your nutrition will play into your tennis performance.

Don’t ever leave your success to chance!

Yours In Health,

Steph

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For more information check out www.foodislifeuk.com or for any questions/personal advice contact Steph by e-mail on foodislifeuk@gmail.com

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How Does the Cold Weather Affect Tennis Performance?

Jon Snow did warn us… winter is here! Being British we have no other expectations for the winter apart from rain and freezing temperatures which means that the majority of us have to brave the zero degree climate during the winter tennis season. But how does playing in freezing conditions affect for our tennis performance?

Let’s talk dehydration….

A 2% fluid deficit has been shown to affect tennis performance by a visible amount, specifically reducing skill and decision making abilities on court.

Although some dehydration is inevitable, it’s important to keep the fluid deficit to a minimum before, during and after tennis practise or a match to avoid any performance drops.

What does this have to do with the cold weather?

In the cold we tend to wrap up warm, which can mean our sweat rate is higher than normal underneath all the layers.

The cold climate blunts our thirst mechanism – when we play tennis our body temperature rises. For the body to stay in a balanced state it needs to cool itself down, and it does this by releasing sweat. The sweat will be a mixture of water and electrolytes (salt). The fluid lost needs to be replaced during exercise to maintain fluid balance and avoid dehydration. With the combination of the cold weather and a blunted thirst mechanism, it’s easy to forget to take on board fluids and therefore become mildly dehydrated.

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So remember when playing tennis in cold temperatures it’s important to monitor your fluid balance, to avoid dehydration you need to replace your fluid losses via sweat by 150%.

There are various techniques that can be used to measure your sweat losses. On average, a tennis player will lose between 1-2.5 litres of sweat per hour. It is recommended that the replacement of fluids is achieved through a mixture of water and electrolytes which can be consumed via sports drinks, coconut water or a mixture of water and salty foods, depending on personal preference.

Don’t let mild dehydration be the deciding factor. Control the controllable!

Yours in Health,

Steph

Former Totally Tennis performance player Steph Catlin has founded Food Is Life, a sports nutrition consultancy business based in Basingstoke. If you would like to learn more about how to achieve your personal nutrition goals and for specific personal advice please contact Steph directly via foodislifeuk@gmail.com via her website www.foodislifeuk.com or visit her social media channels FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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Read more of Steph’s nutrition advice in previous post Is Nutrition The Missing Puzzle Piece to Your Ultimate Tennis Performance 

 

 

 

Is Nutrition The Missing Puzzle Piece to Your Ultimate Tennis Performance?

The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.Bobby Knight

Totally Tennis Alumni Steph Catlin has founded Food Is Life, a sports nutrition consultancy business based in Basingstoke.  Former Totally Tennis performance player, who represented both Brighton Hill Community College and Queen’s Mary College, Steph obtained a four year Division 1 tennis scholarship to the University of Northern Colorado in the USA. After graduating with two Bachelors degrees, one in Sport and Exercise Science and the other in Human Communication Studies she returned to the UK and recently completed her Masters degree in Sport and Exercise Nutrition.

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Whilst playing at a high level Steph was continuously striving to improve her tennis performance and spent countless essential hours on court during her time at University, it was then that she realised the power of nutrition in advancing both the physical and mental aspect of her game. She learnt that incorporating sports nutrition techniques in and around training and matches was just as important as practising her serve day in, day out.

There are many tennis coaches you can turn to for on court tactics and techniques, but to be the most successful tennis player you can be, you need more than a 120mph serve. Steph will providing Totally Tennis players with advice and easy-to-follow tips in a series of tennis and nutrition based blog posts.

Steph said, “As a former high performance tennis player there’s one thing I would have done differently: Open my mind to more knowledge and learn from the experience of the people I look up to.” she continued, With that being said, let me help you with that! As a fully qualified sports nutritionist, over the next coming months I will be providing you with my finest knowledge on all things tennis and nutrition.”

So whether you are a social player hungry for more or someone inspiring to one-day play at Wimbledon, these nutrition tips and tricks will help to get you there!

Stay tuned on the Totally Tennis blog and let’s strive for greatness together!

Yours in Health,

Steph

In the meantime you can contact Steph for any further information as follows: 

Website: www.foodislifeuk.com

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Read more about Steph’s previous achievements in previous posts Totally Tennis Alumni Stephanie Catlin  and Catlin Competes in BUCS League