Joining your University rugby team could be the biggest decision you make as an aspiring rugby star. Firstly, developing as a rugby player at University can be extremely difficult. The flat parties, nights out, late night pizzas and dominoes 2 for 1 offers bombarding your letter box, it’s a tough task. Sacrifices must be made but it’s essential you have some sort of diet plan in place and try and be as consistent as possible. Your budget as a student is also limited so it’s even more important to have some structure to your food sources. This article is going to cover a rugby diet for you as a student, recommended training and recovery plans and also how to make sure you can still enjoy University!
Playing rugby for your University first team can be extremely rewarding. Large crowds watching, socialising and meeting a load of new people, networking and making new friends. Getting attention from the girls is also a plus! The balance of training, working and enjoying is hard but make sure you think of your long term goals. Going out is an essential part of University so making sure you don’t waste the following day being lazy and eating 5,000 calories from junk food!
During pre-season training your body will be pushed and you will reaching new heights in your rugby performance. You will be stronger and faster than ever so make sure you don’t waste all this progress in freshers week. Going out is going to happen so make sure you limit the alcohol intake, keep training consistent and your diet needs to have structure. Nutrition is key as it builds the foundation you need to progress, develop, improve and most important of all, recover!
Before we structure a diet plan it’s important to know why certain foods are included and how tweaks can be made on different days to improve performance. Here is a list of 4 key factors in the diet.
Every rugby player knows what protein is. There is no doubt you will be carrying a shaker cup around campus and sipping on some whey protein for them so called gains. Protein intake is essential for muscle growth and recovery. A general rule is around 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Eating 200g of protein per day can be difficult if all the sources are from solid foods. Whey protein is essential here to get that extra protein in your diet. We recommend buying whey protein from Myprotein. They are the cheapest on the market and all products are batch tested. As a student saving money is key!
Fats are vital. Avoiding fats can mean a decrease in testosterone levels (not good for growth or your sexual life!) and can decrease your ability to protect vital organs. Fats should be consumed at around 50-70g per day at least. Eat the yolk in the eggs, add coconut oil when cooking, supplement with omega 3s (buy here) and make sure you consume healthy fats from other food sources.
Carbohydrates are important for performance. Make sure you supply your body with plenty of carbs after workouts and during the day before training or a game. Read our article on pre-match preparation for more information on optimal carbohydrate intake on game day. Keep it simple, don’t over indulge on carbohydrates and make sure they come from good sources such as oats, sweet potatoes and rice.
Hydration is key. You can have the best diet in the world but if you’re not hydrated you will perform poorly. Hydration helps concentration, performance and body functions. Hydration will stop you cramping up during training and in games, it will help you recover from nights out and make you feel a lot better in general! Make sure you’re consuming at least 2 litres of water a day. Drinking a pint upon awakening gives you a good start to the day.
Breakfast: 100g oats, 1 scoop of whey protein, 2-3 whole eggs.
Snack: Handful of almonds
Meal 2: chicken, rice, veg and sauce of your choosing.
Meal 3: 250g sweet potato, lean meat, veg and omega 3s.
Snack: whey protein shake + handful of almonds
Meal 4: Chicken, rice and green veg. You can mix this up, you get the idea. Lean meat, good carbs source and green veg.
Meal 5: Greek yogurt mixed with 1 scoop of whey protein.
To summarise, you must make sure you have a diet plan in place. Follow it as closely as possible. Nobody is perfect so you can cheat and relax a bit on certain days. The goal is to make sure there is consistency so when it does come to sharpening up your diet and training you can easily adjust. Sticking to a structure can help you continue to progress even through freshers and make sure nights out don’t hinder your performance. I’m sure you want to be man of the match in a massive game in front of your home crowd, don’t you?