DIET TIPS FOR CRICKETERS

Cricket is a long game with various requirements: explosive power, speed, agility, strength and recovery speed. All of these factors are heavily influenced by what you eat.
Food is fuel and if you fuel your body right it will keep you at the optimum level for playing cricket.
While you don't need special supplements or diets to maintain good cricket nutrition, you do need to know what works best. Here I have collected together all my tips on what to eat to make you a better player.
What do cricket players eat and drink
It boils down to just 7 things to do:

  • Eat every 2-3 hours, no matter what. You should eat between 5-8 meals per day.
  • Eat complete lean protein with each meal.
  • Eat fruits and/or vegetables with each food meal.
  • Ensure that your carbohydrate intake comes from fruits and vegetables (Exception: workout and post-workout drinks and meals).
  • Ensure that 25-35% of your energy intake comes from fat, with your fat intake split equally between saturates(8%) (e.g. animal fat), monounsaturates(10%) (e.g., olive oil), and polyunsaturates(12%) (e.g. flax oil, salmon oil).
  • Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choices being water and green tea.
  • Eat mostly whole foods (except workout and post-workout drinks).

If you aren't already practising the above-mentioned habits, and by practising them I mean putting them to use over 90% of the time (i.e., no more than 4 meals out of an average 42 meals per week violate any of those rules), everything else is pretty pointless.


Getting the edge
Cricket is a sport based on power through hitting, sprinting or throwing/bowling. That means you can't waste time building up your endurance through fitness training. However, you do need endurance and fast recovery (especially if you are playing more than once a week) to perform at your best to the last ball.
You can get this through what you drink before, during and after the game.
Avoiding drinking or sticking to the supplied orange flavoured water just doesn't cut it if you are serious about improving your game.

What is in the ideal cricket performance drink?
I have searched long and hard for the answer to that question and tried quite a few different drinks to see what gives the best results. I have found the ideal drink must:

  • Contain water for hydration.
  • Be able to sit in the sunshine and not go off.
  • Contain fast acting carbohydrates(7%-8%) for recovery and endurance.
  • Taste good or you won't drink it.
  • Contain fast acting protein(Whey) for recovery, retention of power and performance
    enhancement.

For hydration

  • Take 500ml water 30mins before game
  • Sip 150-200ml water every 15-20 mins during game
  • Take Carbo-protein drink after 1-hour of play
  • Take 2-glass(1-glass is 250 ml) of water for each pound bodyweight lost after match.

There are plenty of ways to get this balance. You could make it yourself or even compromise a little with chocolate milk.

  • Most notably, get your carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables, fat from fish, eggs, nuts and olive oil and lean protein from meat, dairy, protein shakes or fish.
  • About 2 hours before the match have a meal as above but add in some processed carbohydrates like cereal, bread or pasta to top up your glycogen stores. Avoid 'bad' fats from processed meat and fried food.
  • During warm up, while you are waiting to bat and when you are in the field drink half a litre per hour of 'workout drink' as outlined here.
  • At the interval have a meal based a small amount carbohydrates through bread or pasta. Alternatively, have another workout drink (but not both).
  • The exception is when you have not done anything in the first session (your team has batted and you did not get in). If that's the case, at tea have a smaller meal similar to the first tip.
  • After the game, cool down and refuel with a whole food meal within 2 hours of the close of play.

Bear in mind all these tips are for optimum nutrition to give you more energy during play rather than minimal requirements to avoid starvation.
You can ignore them and still eat they way you want, just be prepared to perform less well towards the end of an innings. Good nutrition is that important to your game.

 What should cricketers eat on match days

Here are 7 foods

  • Cottage Cheese. A great source of protein. It can be used in a variety of ways. I like to eat it before bed because it contains a type of protein called casein that is released more slowly through the night.
  • Mixed Nuts. Nuts taste dead good and are a source of healthy fat. I like them because you can snack on them easily, but there are plenty of ways to cook them up as part of a proper meal too.
  • Spinach. Strengthens your immune system. I have it in omelettes to get a good balance of veggies and complete protein in one meal.
  • Tuna. Fresh tuna is rich in protein and good omega-3 fats. Tinned tuna is a tasty convenient protein source. Cricketers need a bit more protein than the average person and tuna is an excellent way to get it.
  • Broccoli. Rich in antioxidants, if you want to feel good broccoli is high in the list of foods to eat. Fresh is best but frozen isn't that far behind, just make sure you steam it so as not to lose too many micronutients in the cooking.
  • Bananas. Energy and potassium in one easy to munch yellow snack. If I get hungry on the day of a match and I'm in a pinch I'll grab a banana rather than a cake, sandwich or mars bar.
  • Green Tea. It's not a food I know, but it's a wonder drink. It has been claimed to boost metabolism in those wanting to lose weight, have positive effects on prevention and treatment of cancer and lower cholesterol. Although that has not been proven beyond doubt, what is certain is its benefit when replacing coffee, and soft drinks. It's got no calories and less caffeine.

 TIPS

  • Nutritional aims

    The nature of cricket means that we dont need a special diet to perform well. But we do need to know what we are aiming for. Ideally we want our diet to breakdown like this:

    40%-50% Carbohydrate
    20-25% Fat
    20-25% Protein


    This breakdown will give us sufficient fuel to perform without putting on performance reducing fat.

    Also, we should be aiming for around 10-15% Body Fat (25% for women), about 2500-3500 calories per day and enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.

    How to reach your nutrition goals

    Reaching these aims may seem impossible without complicated labs and expensive equipment. And it is true to measure with 100% accuracy you would need to break into a nutrition lab!
  • However, it is straightforward to eat right and the percentages will follow. Here is how.
  • Get most of your protein from high quality lean meats like chicken and fish.
  • Make sure you eat 5-10 portions of veg a day (plus some fruit) to get your vitamins and minerals.
  • Cut back on processed and high sugar foods.
  • Dont cut any food out of your diet, especially if you like it. Just make it a treat or a reward.
  • Don't go on a diet, as fad diets by their nature end. Aim to change your whole outlook to one where you are considering healthy eating at every meal.

However, it is straightforward to eat right and the percentages will follow. Here is how.

  • Think about setting up a free account at Fit day. It tracks your food intake and breaks it down into percentages.
  • Get most of your protein from high quality lean meats like chicken and fish.
  • Make sure you eat 5-10 portions of veg a day (plus some fruit) to get your vitamins and minerals.
  • Cut back on processed and high sugar foods.
  • Don’t cut any food out of your diet, especially if you like it. Just make it a treat or a reward.
  • Read my guide to match day nutrition.
  • Don't go on a diet, as fad diets by their nature end. Aim to change your whole outlook to one where you are considering healthy eating at every meal.

The secret, then, to building a diet you can be proud of is simple: be aware of what you are eating.
So what should we be eating during the tea break?
First of all you will need to rest for a few minutes, allowing your digestive track to prepare itself for the receiving of nutrients. During a tea break it is most beneficial to eat foods that are high in nutrients, low in artificial ingredients and, most importantly, give you a release of energy you can use.

  • raisins
  • dates
  • oatcakes
  • carrots
  • bananas
  • grapes
  • Chilled melon (high water content and full of natural fruit sugars with release energy ergonomically).

After the match is a good time to get whole starchy carbohydrates to assist your recovery time. Potatoes, quinoa or rice combined with a protein source from lean meat works perfectly.
Its fine to consume some fatty foods provided the fats are not trans-fats. These foods will help you to stay warmer in cold weather, whilst avoiding discomfort during play. Again, look for whole foods that combine ‘healthy’ fats with other nutrients. Nuts, avocado, olives, hummus and fresh fish are solid options.

If you are prepared to change what you eat during the tea break then you can expect to experience an improved aerobic system for the remainder of the game, as the energy release will be more gradual. This will help you to stay focused and maintain concentration throughout the game.
Cucumber sandwiches are most often served for a light snack or at afternoon tea, a formal light meal served at four in the afternoon or early evening before the main supper. In addition, cucumber sandwiches are supposed to be served in the tea break.

Cucumber sandwiches
are popular during cricket matches and weekend picnics. The Indian variant is flavoured with green chutney, and sometimes contains slices of boiled potatoes.
Because of cucumber's cooling nature, cucumber sandwiches are often eaten in the summer months or in warmer climates, such as in parts of India. Indian Airlines used to serve cucumber sandwiches as part of its usual vegetarian inflight meal in short-haul domestic flights

Eating these foods(Sausage rolls, pies, scones, biscuits, chips, crisps, cakes, chocolate) in the middle of a game will adversely affect your performance. This is because such foods release energy too quickly, converting to fat and causing your blood sugar to crash.

Upon rising in the morning:
1-teaspoon Methi + Kala Jeera(Black Cumin) with lemon water

After 30 mins:-

  • 1-carrot
  • 1-Tomato(If an individual in not Allergic)
  • 1-cucumber
  • 1-Beetroot
  • 25-g Coriander Leaf
  • 25-Mint Leaves

Make a juice and filter and then drink

Breakfast:-

  • 2-3 piece wheat bread with 5g-Butter/60-70g Oatmeal
  • 1-Glass Orange juice or apple juice or

      1-Orange /Apple

  • 25g- Nuts
  • 60-70g Papaya
  • 40-50g Soybean Powder/ Cornflake
  • Banana
  • 1-2 Eggs

After 2-3 Hours

  • Sandwich with Vegetables
  • 1-Glass skimmed milk/Watermelon
  • Few Raisins, Almonds

Lunch:

  • 3-4 Chapattis
  • 60g  Brown Rice
  • 25g Lentils
  • Boiled beans, peas
  • Cucumber and Leafy vegetables Salad, Yoghurt, with Olive Oil(10-15ml)
  • 100g Fish/100g Lean Chicken

Evening

  • Grapes/Apple/ different fruits with Bread(preferably Wheat),
  • Suji,
  • 1-2 Eggs or
  • Boiled Chicken Breast or
  • Chatua-soyabean, cashews, chana, groundnut, corn (For Vegetarians)

Dinner:

  • 1-2 Chapattis
  • 70-80g Rice
  • 25g-Dals
  • Few Vegetables
  • Fish/Chicken(100g)
  • Orange or
  • Grapes or
  • Juice or
  • 1-Glass Skimmed milk with 1-Teaspoon

      Almond or Turmeric or Powdered Pumpkin Seeds and Watermelon seeds after 30-mins of  Dinner and then sleep after 30 Mins.

Supplements For Fast Bowlers along with the above foods:

  • Whey Protein
  • Creatine
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Glutamine
  • Multivitamins & Minerals
  • Ginseng
  • Safed Muesli
  • Ginkgo Giloba

 Caution: Supplements are only used to supplement whole food. If one is not taking proper whole food then supplements will not help them or may be dangerous. So consult proper Sports nutritionist or coach before indulging in Sports Supplemnts.

Note:

  • Take more Vitamin C related supplements or whole food like oranges, lemon, pineapple
  • Zinc Related foods- Leafy vegetables,  Yoghurt, almonds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, Sunflower seeds etc.
  • Copper supplements or foods
  • Iron supplements or foods
  • Vitamin A related supplements or foods
  • Calcium supplements or foods
  • Chromium supplements or foods like Broccoli, Cauliflower etc.
  • Selenium supplements or foods like mushrooms etc.
  • Vitamin E supplements or foods

 

POINT TO BE REMEMBERED

The above diet schedule is a Generalized one. Consult your nutritionist or coach and modify according to your body’s requirement.

By
Jisu(Bisweswar Kar)
Diet Consultant,B.Pharm
National Discus and Shot Thrower
Email: jisukar_2345@rediffmail.com