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Nutrition: How to fuel pre-season

Rugby World

Pre-season is rearing its ugly head again, but don't worry, we've got you covered...

Sep 1, 2016 8:06 AM EDT

This year you want to take it seriously – we’re talking about three conditioning sessions a week at least, plus weights – and you are going to be sore. In fact, you will never not be sore, but with the right nutrition you can get through it.

Taking on food and fluid at the right time can help replenish your muscle glycogen stores and help maintain the fibres between the muscles that look after contracting and expanding – you know, the bits that take a hammering during pre-season.

So take on a recovery snack or drink after long sessions or ones that introduce a lot of resistance. Drinks with milk in them can be taken on quickly, or cereals with yogurt and even a sandwich with high-quality, lean meat could do the job.

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Fruit juices that are high in antioxidants, like cherry juice, are a good way to flush out the muscles and make them feel marginally fresher. Every little helps!

Protein intake is advised immediately after training to provide a source of amino acids for growth and repair. It could benefit your ability to sprint, turn and jump, as your muscles are fresher the next day. It could also help your yo-yo tests.

Oily fish gives you the Omega 3 vital for muscle repair as it has anti-inflammatory properties. How about trying this salmon recipe?

Grilled salmon mash & watercress (serves 2)

You’ll need: 250g potatoes, cut into chunks, 150g parsnips, cut into chunks, 2 salmon filets, ½ medium onion chopped, 100g chopped watercress, 3½ tbsp of crème fraîche, Squeeze of lemon juice, Grated nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of curd cheese.

Grilled salmon, mash & watercress Rugby World

Step-by-step

  1. Bring the potatoes and parsnips to the boil, then simmer until tender.
  2. Place salmon on a baking sheet lined with foil and grill for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Fry onions until translucent. Add watercress and a teaspoon of water. Cook until wilted.
  4. Whizz mixture with 2½ tbsp of crème fraîche and lemon juice until smooth.
  5. Drain and mash the potatoes and parsnips with the remaining crème fraîche, nutmeg and curd cheese.
  6. Serve salmon with mash, sauce and any extra watercress.

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