DIETITIAN’S PAGE with Maggie
Getting the best sports performance from your body isn’t just a case of training and practice - you need to get the nutrition right too.
First you need to ask yourself - are you playing table tennis to help you control your weight and keep fit? Or are you playing and training at top competition level where you need to be in peak physical condition in order to compete?
PLAYING FOR FITNESS
If you are playing table tennis for fitness, you should aim to follow healthy eating guidelines. Every day you should try to have:
5 portions or more of fruit and vegetables
5 portions of high fibre foods
3 portions of dairy foods
2 portions of protein foods
2 litres fluids spread throughout the day
Starchy foods with every meal
Limit sugars to no more than 10% of your energy needs and fats to 30% of your energy needs.
On match days aim to play one to two hours after eating a meal, which should include some carb foods such as bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. Make sure you’re well hydrated, but avoid high sugar sports drinks - better choices are water, diluted squash, or semi-skimmed milk.
For more information, visit https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/HealthyEating.pdf
PLAYING AND TRAINING AT TOP COMPETITION LEVEL
When you are playing table tennis at a level demanding high athletic performance, you need to follow the Five Goals of sports nutrition:
1) Mix it up - eat a varied and well balanced diet providing the right amount of energy and essential nutrients;
2) Fuel up - eat lots of carb rich foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes;
3) Strive for five - eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day;
4) Refuel - start refueling with carb foods and fluids as soon as possible after exercise;
5) Think fluid - make sure you’re well hydrated by drinking throughout the day, as well as before, during and after exercise.
Estimated protein requirements are about 1.2g per kg body weight per day. There should be no need for protein supplements unless you have been advised to take them by a health professional.