Badminton Life

Nutrition and Badminton

Nutrition is an important component of badminton because it is an energy sapping, fast paced, quick reflexes oriented, fast racket game where the speed of the smash is more than 200mph when the shuttle leaves the racket after the smash.

So a badminton player has to take care of his nutritional requirements on and off his badminton days to maintain a balance. For example, on an off day, you may require 2500 to 3000 calories whereas on competition day, you may require up to 5000 calories. Similarly, your requirement for water, carbohydrates, electrolytes and other nutrients vary between his off day and competition day.

On a day-to-day basis, you have to take care of your nutrition by consuming a well balanced diet comprising carbohydrate, fat, protein, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and water. A nutritionist can extend help in achieving this.

In the days preceding a competition, it is better for you to eat less carbohydrate and more fat and protein. It depletes his glycogen stores in the liver. Then, for a day or two preceding the competition you can go for increased carbohydrate, which replenishes glycogen storage to an optimal level.

It enables you to endure the event better by providing you the necessary glucose during play by the breakdown of glycogen. Also it is better to drink beverages containing glucose during rest between plays and avoid fructose-containing beverages.

It is because fructose has to be converted into glucose for the body to use it, which takes time, predisposing the individual to low blood sugars and fatigue. Fructose can also upset your stomach.

Contrary to popular belief, badminton players require very little additional protein than the general population to maintain their health. Usually, they can get the increments by diet alone. No protein nutritional supplements are needed.

Overenthusiastic protein intake predisposes to constant thirst, dehydration, decreased desire to consume food, loose motions and added stress on kidneys besides adding to the cost of training.

Among electrolytes, sodium needs can be met just by increasing their amounts in the diet during competition days. Consuming salt tablets indiscriminately can cause vomiting sensation, vomiting and bloating of stomach due to retention of water by the salt thereby affecting the player's performance. Similarly, additional potassium requirements can also be met with diet alone by including potassium rich food like bananas regularly.

Vitamins and minerals are to be obtained by diet optimally. Badminton players require vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and minerals like iron to utilize the additional calories they need during playing. These vitamins and minerals are to be obtained by including fresh fruits, vegetables, greens, eggs etc. in their diet.

Water should be consumed in just adequate amounts before, during and after play, ideally at the amounts required to quench the player's thirst. Drinking too much water in the presumption that it can diminish thirst and improve fitness is wrong as it can lead to water intoxication. Similarly, drinking too less water thinking that it may slow the game by bloating the stomach is also a misplaced concept.

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