Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Friday Sep 23, 2016

Rugby Nutrition - 5 Rules For Carbohydrates and Rugby

Rugby Nutrition - 5 Rules For Carbohydrates and Rugby

So what’s the deal with carbs? Do we need them or are they just going to make us fat? This week Rugbydump Academy’s TJ Jankowski discusses the importance of carbs and how you can use them to perform, look and feel better.

So let’s discuss carbs, they get a mixed reaction in today’s society. Some people think they are the sole-reason for the obesity epidemic the western world is facing. Others just love carbs (who can blame them).

The reality is that as a rugby player, you get to view carbs differently than most people. This is because you train/play (and party) hard. So today we’re going to look at 5 rules for carbohydrates and rugby that you should be following.

You Should Be Eating Carbs

Let’s get one thing clear, carbs are not the devil, they are fuel.

Your body uses carbohydrates that you consume by either converting them to glucose and sending them straight into the bloodstream for energy, or by converting them to glycogen (a large number of glucose bound together) and storing them in the liver and around the body for when energy is needed.

Some of you will know that the body also uses fat for fuel. So how come we can’t just use fat as our fuel?

Because of it’s complex and fuel-efficient nature, fat is used as fuel for normal day-to-day activity and low intensity exercise such as walking. So if you aren’t doing anything more than this you probably won’t need carbs (aside from the mental side of how good they taste).

Once you get into more intense activity (like rugby), the body’s primary fuel source becomes glycogen. If your body runs out of glycogen, then you may still be able to do the activity, but your performance will dramatically decrease.

This has been shown consistently in sport science studies – both glycogen stores and blood glucose levels are very strongly linked to performance markers and perceived fatigue. Basically, if you don’t have glycogen or glucose freely available in your system, then your performance will drop.

Obviously rugby is a high intensity activity, as is the vast majority of training activities for rugby. The better you can train, the greater your results are going to be. Supplying your body with carbs is going to help your performance not only receive a boost, but you should be able to maintain that boost for longer.

Carbs Should Be Used To Fuel Recovery Post Training

This is one piece of advice that I think I will continue telling guys until the end of time.

If you want to recover as best as possible from a training session, you need to fuel your body with more carbs than protein. I still see people every day having a shake of just protein powder to consume after they’ve finished training.

Protein is important, but alone will provide a snippet of the benefits that carbs will have. This is such an easy switch that you can do right away.

You can throw some gatorade in your protein shake (or kool-aid… it’s cheaper). You don’t even need to have a shake, just wait til you get home and have a giant meat-lovers pizza from Dominos eat a lean protein source with some carbs (rice/potatoes/pasta).

Protein is what is used to “build the muscle” and recover, but without carbs, it is much harder for the body to actually have the energy to go through that process.

Avoid Too Many High Fibre Carbs On Game Day

Everyone’s parents told them to eat their veggies right? Or if not at least Hulk Hogan told us, which is probably more important. Anyway, everyone knows that veggies are needed to be eaten. Think “healthy diet” and you think veggies.

In spite of all this goodness that vegetables bring to us there is a time and a place where you actually need to limit your vegetable intake. Pre-game.

Vegetables are high in fibre, which in day-to-day life is great, it helps our digestive system process all of the nutrients from what we eat and keeps us nice and full whilst it does all this.

On a game-day this is actually what we want to avoid, if our bodies are still processing food that is going to be taking away from the vigorous 80 minute activity that we’re about to do.

Most of your food on game-day should be slow-digesting carbohydrates and a bit of protein (yoghurt and some oats works as a great breakfast). This will help keep your gut clear and stress free and allow you to play at your best.

You Should “Carb Load” The Day Before a Game

As I stated in the beginning, when your body runs out of glycogen, your performance drops. In an 80 minute game there is a good chance of this happening at some point if you didn’t start the game fully-stocked up. So how much is enough to try and prevent this?

We can store around 500g of carbohydrates in our muscles at any one time. This simply cannot be consumed on the day of a match, you wouldn’t be able to process it. Therefore eating a few higher-carbohydrate meals the day before is the best solution.

You can spread it over the course of a day, having a number of carb-dense meals, and it is easily done.

Remember that we’re aiming for higher carbohydrates here, not an increase in protein and fat so in spite of what some may tell you KFC isn’t the best choice. I’ll reiterirate that again, do not just eat junk food and justify it as carb-loading, you will just increase bodyfat over time which will obviously negatively affect your performance.

Utilize Lower Carbohydrate Intake On Easy/Off Days

We know the importance of carbs to fuel your performance and recover after tough sessions. There is also some research to suggest that having days with a reduced carb intake has a number of benefits.

Without getting too sciencey on you it can:

– make the muscle cells more efficient at getting work done)
– increase the mitochondria produced in cells (allowing you more capacity to work)
– increase fat burning
– avoid fat storage

It is important that these lower carb days are done on the right days – you want them on your easier training days and your days off. I would also say to be cautious of doing this on the day after a game, as you will probably need some carbohydrates to recover.

In Summary

Just like so many things I’ve written about, carbs are an important tool to use in your training and rugby career. Using them in the right way can push your performance and results to truly reaching your potential. They are not evil.

About TJ Jankowski

TJ Jankowski is a former international rugby player for Poland rugby, who achieved their highest world ranking of 23 whilst he was part of the team.
Never the most talented player, he attributes the majority of his success to the hard work he put in at the gym, kitchen and training paddock. 

It was this reward from hard work that led him to become a coach and help other achieve greater success than he could. He prides himself on coaching and creating plans for people in the real world, not with robots.

TJ has worked with international rugby players from 4 different continents and we are thrilled to announce that he can help you as part of the Rugbydump Academy

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Articles

  • 96 WEEKS AGO

    Carlin Isles gym footage shows fascinating...

  • 222 WEEKS AGO

    Box Jump Guide - Do Them Right To Develop...

  • 223 WEEKS AGO

    Special Strength Training for Rugby - Why,...

ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 20 HOURS AGO

    John Leslie's unbelievable 1999 try was the fastest ever scored from kick off in Test rugby

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    It's 30 years since France scored that epic 'Try of the Century' from beneath their posts

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Amazing acrobatic skills set up early try in Pro D2 Friday night clash

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Arguably the most insane three minutes of Fijian rugby history

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Jonny Wilkinson's iconic performance that ripped Ireland apart in 2002

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Re-live the utter madness that unfolded late in the 2009 Challenge Cup final

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: The HUGE Currie Cup hit South African fans have been raving about

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Ex-internationals discuss unfortunate forearm incident which left Tonga international motionless

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Brutal reaction to eye gouging leads to HUGE ban for Gloucester flanker

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Springbok fans celebrate Liam Williams' game-losing error in 2014

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 DAY AGO

    WATCH: Eben Etzebeth puts the world on notice with surprising positional switch

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    James Haskell defends McDonald's role in latest YouTube rant

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Re-live THE Mike Phillips Six Nations try which still angers Irish fans to this day

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Fijian winger cops heavy ban after that referee lifting incident that went viral and blew up his phone

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Vakatawa blows crucial try in terrible blooper, similar to Kunitani in 2014

View All

Funnies

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Fijian wing who lifted a referee like Lion King now faces a disciplinary hearing

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Referee JP Doyle reacts to hilarious moment red card was dished out after bizarre celebration

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Without doubt one of the funniest red cards in the history of rugby

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Nigel Owens produces comedy gold by forgetting crucial piece of kit during Pro14 clash

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    The VERY BEST examples of when rugby players celebrate too early

View All

Amateur

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 50 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 50 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    The highs and lows of Yoann Huget after he announced his retirement

View All
Rugby Nutrition - 5 Rules For Carbohydrates and Rugby | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos