As I have previously mentioned, Nutrition plays a fundamental role in allowing players to maximize their potential on the field. There are a large number of professional players who do not pay enough attention to the importance of eating the right food.
In this day and age, there is a huge amount of advice relating to what athletes should and shouldn’t eat. In reality it hasn’t really changed. Obviously, it is difficult to maintain a healthy diet 100% of the time, but as polo athletes, is it very important to eat adequate amounts of nutritious food to optimize your chance of performing and prevent exhaustion. Furthermore, the right food helps you stay hydrated, repairs muscles, prevents injuries and replaces valuable nutrients you lose when you sweat.
Every player should maintain a balanced diet high in carbohydrate and liquids, low in fats and moderate in protein and fiber. More than anything, the following 5 foods should be an essential part of any polo players diet:
Let’s talk about Fruit!
Fruit is one of the most important components of a player diet given that it contains large quantities of vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, it is a source of hydration and energy because 80-90% of it is water and carbohydrates. Alas, remember that not all fruits have the same benefit. As a trainer, I think that the best fruits for players are bananas, oranges and strawberries. The potassium content in bananas is very high. When you do intensive exercise such as playing five chukkas in a row, you lose a large amount of potassium through sweat and there is a risk that this will lead to muscle cramps and fatigue. Bananas are responsible for replenishing your body with potassium supplies and are also an excellent source of energy. Oranges should also be an essential part of a polo player's diet because they contain large quantities of Vitamin C, which helps reduce inflammation and also helps the body to absorb iron. Furthermore, it reinforces the immune system. So, EAT more fruit, especially bananas and oranges if you want to play and perform at your best.
I would recommend that players eat eggs at least three times a week! Eggs contain vitamin A, B and provide more than seven grams of protein. They are excellent for your immune system, your nervous system and vision. As you know, polo is a sport that requires quick reactions given the speed at which it is played. If you are feeling sluggish or switched off, its worth increasing your egg intake.
Chicken without the skin is a brilliant source of nutrition. While it is very low in calories, it contains roughly 27 grams of protein and only 3 grams of fat. It is a great source of vitamin B and helps players to maintain lean muscle. A bonus is it helps your memory (so you won’t forget to stay with the man or prepare your swing in time...).
Oily fish such as salmon and tuna contain a good amount of Omega that is excellent for helping the body recover quickly, repair muscles and improve your immune system. To avoid common muscle tear injuries in polo be sure to eat more fish!
Pastas and rice
Energy, energy and more energy. Wholegrains such as pastas and rice are a fantastic source of carbohydrates. They not only give you long lasting energy boosts that are essential for avoiding exhaustion during games, but they also help your body recover more quickly after a match or training session.
Try to maintain a balanced diet that includes all of the foods I have discussed above. Remember to drink a lot of water and avoid eating sugary snacks that give you instant energy but don’t last long and result in energy crashes! Remember that a healthy, strong, outside starts from the inside!