Hungry Jack's NBL
Champion Nutrition Report - Game Day Nutrition
Did you know Tim Coenraad is also a trained nutritionist? Ever wondered how NBL stars prepare their bodies for games? Timmy Coenraad of the Illawarra Hawks has all the answers..There’s a lot of difference of opinion regarding game day nutrition. Everyone obviously wants to be at their best come game time; therefore, I have invested a lot of time researching what is the best scientific approach to ensure peak performance, as well as a little of my own opinion. What I have found is that the biggest area of confusion is around carbohydrates. Most of the conjecture about what should be consumed for sports that require explosive movements (tennis, rugby league, basketball etc.) revolves around carbs. Many websites and articles emphasise carbs, carbs and more carbs! In my opinion, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Carbs are an athletes’ best friend and are no doubt important. However, when we consume a carb-heavy meal, our body goes into its ‘rest & digest’ phase. The rest and digest phase is where our autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system responsible for the bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, and digestive processes) pays all the attention to digesting those carbs. Insulin is released into the blood which tells our muscle cells and our liver to store all that glucose as glycogen (glycogen is glucose in its stored form), a process leading to fatigue and tiredness. From this, we can conclude that eating carbs close to a game is not the best idea. Instead, carbs are ideally consumed the night before a game so our bodies have time to store all that glucose. The glycogen that is stored in our muscles is the body’s fuel for explosive movements. Good sources of carbohydrates include sweet potato, raw oats, black beans and wild rice. A small serving of carbs can be helpful at lunch time (if you are playing at night), but sticking to protein and good fats such as nuts, eggs and avocado especially in the morning, will help to stabilise your blood sugar and keep your body from falling into that ‘rest and digest’ phase. So whether you’re a professional athlete or just a weekend warrior, my advice would be to try and avoid eating carbohydrates close to the big game. All the information above comes from a science based approach and/or my own personal opinion. Most of us have our own personal game-day approach whether that be carbs, carbs, carbs or sacrificing a small goat. But at the end of the day it all boils down to what works best for you.