GAA Match day guidelines

Practice all new nutritional strategies in training first gradually assessing tolerance and effectiveness

Getting your nutrition right on match day alone will not make up for poor nutrition leading up to the match.

Proper recovery from training and pre-match day eating habits are key.

The art of entering an event fully prepared means enough energy has been consumed and is available for use.  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 be ready to take their pre-match drinks and supplements where appropriate.  This usually means the last solid foods will have been consumed 2 hours earlier with a substantial meal eaten 4-5 hours earlier. Any other nutrients taken pre-match should be in liquid form or be small enough to digest and absorb quickly.

CONCEPTS

•    Multiple feedings: 5-8
•    Adequate hydration

All original individual nutritional guidelines apply plus the main pre-match meal should ideally contain 2 servings of starchy low GI carbohydrates, 1 serving of fibrous carbohydrate, 1 serving of protein and 1/2 to 1 serving of essential fats with an optional serving of fruit from bananas, grapes, melon or kiwi. This should be consumed 4-5 hours before the match. Normally this meal would be breakfast.

MATCH DAY

The best nutrition plan to follow is the one you’ve been performing on up till now and you should not make drastic changes to your existing pre match strategy without practising during training first. However, if you feel your performance could be improved on these days then the following guidelines may be of some use.

Breakfast: Cooked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs, a small amount of lean bacon followed by a low glycemic cereal such as porridge with milk. 1-2 slices of whole meal bread or rye bread with a small amount of fruit spread or marmite may also be required.

Brunch: should be a light meal once again from low glycemic carbohydrate with possibly some liquid protein from whey or otherwise. An example might be a smoothie (see recipes below). Or a chicken sandwich with 1/2 a meal replacement.

Leading up to the match specific pre-match supplements may be used for individual players

Many individuals find it difficult to eat at all on match days and may just have room for breakfast. It is likely in this situation that performance may be limited due to inadequate carbohydrate being available. Often a liquid meal is a good idea in this scenario with the ingredients being able to quickly exit the stomach. One formula we’ve used with success before is: Blend 25g oats with 500ml rice or skimmed milk and a serving of your favourite MRP or protein powder, add 1/2 a banana and maybe a small amount of nuts and seeds with a teaspoon of honey. Ideally this should be taken around 75-90 minutes before the game (you could also try this before a workout). Remember all these types of nutritional strategy should be practiced in training first, gradually assessing tolerance and effectiveness of a particular recipe.

Pre match Boosters and half time replenishment should be discussed individually with your doctor or nutritionist.

POST MATCH
Replacing lost carbohydrates and fluids is essential at this stage to ensure training can be resumed at an adequate level during the week. Ensure that you drink 500ml of water for every 1/2 kg of body weight lost during play. Try not to drink this all at once but stager it over the next few hours. Make sure that in addition to the post workout recovery drink you have some ‘real food’ ideally no longer than an hour after the match. For the next 24 hours you should aim to consume approximately 75-100% of your body weight in kg, in grams of carbohydrates each 2-3 hours. This should help fully replenish your carbohydrate reserves. All other nutritional considerations apply during this time.

SMOOTHIE RECIPES

1.
2-3 scoops of Kinetica Chocolate 100% whey
20 oz (2 1/2 cups) of skim milk
1/2 cup of low fat or fat-free cottage cheese
2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon of linseeds  ½ table spoon of lecithin  granules

2.
2 -3 scoops Kinetica vanilla 100% whey
1 container (3.9 oz) natural unsweetened apple sauce
Cinnamon as desired
Cold water (Add more or less based on the consistency you want.)
1 tablespoon of linseeds  ½ table spoon of lecithin  granules

3.
2 scoops of Kinetica strawberry 100% whey
2-3 Tbsp. of sugar-free instant pudding (rice pudding)
Five ice cubes
Cold water
1 tablespoon of linseeds  ½ table spoon of lecithin  granules

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