Not too many people are spending much time diving into the element of sports nutrition for the tennis athlete, so I guess I’ll take a stab at it with this tennis lesson.
Why? Because if you don’t have the right inside, I can almost guarantee that your outside, meaning your shots, your stamina, and your ability to take out your opponent, won’t exactly be eye-candy.
Let me explain…
You see, when Serena topped Wozniacki in the 2011 US Open, some attributed the win to her superior mental game. And that’s great.
Djokovic’s victory over Federer was said by many to be due to Novak’s superior skill and the momentum from his astonishing season. Awesome!
No doubt these were factors. But few, if any, people talked about food, diet and sports nutrition as possible contributors.
Anybody who has ever been involved in a match without eating properly beforehand knows, though, that it is a losing battle.
You’re already starting with a tremendous handicap. And that’s no good at all.
Practicing on an empty stomach, much less competing, is bad enough for your sports nutrition. But regularly shortchanging yourself in vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a recipe for disaster.
But oh ye mortal engines! Throughout the endless hours we spend training, conditioning, and mentally preparing, how many of us really pay due respect to the link between performance and nutrition…
…Between input and output? Imagine a sports car running on low grade petroleum (…pure put put status). That’s what happens to you when you fail to properly fuel yourself before and after your bouts on the court.
It’s what happened to me time and again before I understood the importance of this link. Now imagine, if you will, the popular notion that man was made in “God’s” image.
By that logic, eating junk food and empty calories is like trying to fuel a Lamborghini with a lump of coal.
Now, this isn’t to say that sports nutrition is the only thing that matters and training and practice are worthless.
It’s completely the contrary. If you only focus on what you eat and fail to train properly, it’ll be like fueling a paper airplane with plutonium: At best, you might put your own eye out on the court, in front of everyone.
Popeye would have made a great tennis player. He’s always in super shape. His forearms are enormous, and since both of them are gargantuan, he probably could have worked with two racquets at the same time.
But most importantly, he ate the right stuff before going to battle with Bluto. He understood how important nutrition is when it comes to making your body perform at its peak levels.
Popeye’s power food was spinach. Not a bad choice, but in this tip, we’ll be looking at the beet. Why? Well, because beets are arguably an even better sports super food.
Now, why are beets so good for you and your tennis game? For two very powerful reasons…
Sports Nutrition: Two Reasons To Try Beets
1. Potassium Packed: They’re LOADED with potassium – a vital chemical element that helps regulate your body’s fluid and electrolyte levels. It keeps you upbeat, and you don’t get that drained feeling nearly as soon.
When you’re out on the court sweating harder than Lebron James in Game 7 against the Mavs, you need a higher amount of potassium in order to maintain high level performance. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up with severe cramps. OUCH!
With a whopping 500 milligrams in each beet, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more richly concentrated and more delicious source.
2. Decreases Inflammation: Inflammation is another annoyance to us and our sports nutrition we’re all unfortunately a little too familiar with at times. When our muscles get overworked and fatigue (…from an intense on-court workout or in the gym), they respond by becoming inflamed and/or swollen.
If we keep up that stress without feeding them the proper foods, our muscles go on strike, refusing to work for us, holding up picket signs that say “2,4,6,8, Proper Sports Nutrition Just Can’t Wait!”
The worst part is that the results of inflammation don’t end with mere discomfort. It can lead to something as serious as heart disease, something no athlete *EVER*wants on his or her plate. So, think about your “sports nutrition,” put beets on the plate instead:
Sports Nutrition: Beets, Chemically Speaking
The betaine found inside beets greatly reduces the inflammation in our muscles and around our joints, letting you train harder without damaging your body as badly.
What’s more, beet greens are filled to the brim with iron, which help promote healthy blood flow. This allows you to last longer during the most heated tennis matches.
So, eat beets and have a higher probability of beating your next opponent!
Have a great day and an even better game!
P.S. For more sports nutrition tips like this one, check these out: More On Sports Nutrition
P.P.S. Check out our TMC Mental Strategy Secrets 101 (…19 H-OU-R-S of kick-butt tennis tips, tennis lessons, tricks, and strategies) and beef up your mental game like the big boys, so you can play like one of your favorite pros.