Amateur rugby players who are looking to take the next step in their development have a lot of advice to follow. From the strength and conditioning component of the sport to rehabilitation exercises and the practice of key skills like passing, tactical kicking, explosive movement, tackling and operating around rucks and mauls, there are various levels of complexity to incorporate for players at all levels.
Yet it is the food consumed across a day and a week that will help to optimise the tools at their disposal. No matter if it is backs or forwards, this heavy contact, high intensity game requires a mixture of endurance, strength, speed and mental concentration under pressure.
From Dan Carter to Richie McCaw, Beauden Barrett, Same Cane, Kieran Read, Aaron Smith and Brodie Retallick, these stars of the game at Super Rugby and international level have been taught to follow a strict regiment to get the best out of their bodies and their skills.
The first element that has to be incorporated within the Super Rugby diet plan is including key proteins into the mix. This is the first of what is known as the ‘macronutrient’ basis that players will adhere to in order to bulk up for a pre-season training regiment, adding together protein, carbohydrates and fats. It is used to build up muscle mass and to repair muscle tissue. The best forms of protein for professionals in this setting is chicken, brown rice, eggs, red meat, fish and turkey.
No one can rise to the level of Super Rugby if vegetables are not a mandatory part of their daily diet plan. These goodies are packed with essential antioxidants and nutrients that supports physical development and recovery. Any vegetable will suffice in this setting as they are supposed to be consumed with every meal. From carrots and broccoli to tomatoes, beetroots, lettuce, potatoes, spinach and zucchini, dieticians will rarely advise players that they are having too many vegetables.
Carbohydrates offer fuel for the fire as far as Super Rugby players are concerned. When they manage this element correct, they are well on the path to designing a diet plan that works for them. The glycogen that is stored in the muscles requires carbs to generate that energy source. Items like white rice, oats, pasta, white bread and biscuits are ideal and help smaller players to grow mass.
There is a crucial distinction to make for Super Rugby players when it comes to the fat that they consume as part of their weekly diet plan. The wrong fats will make the schedule completely ineffective. This is where professionals will be advised to have avocados, whole eggs, extra virgin olive oil, oily fish and coconut oil as part of their meal pattern.
If the players are adhering to a regular diet plan that does not deviate too far off the standard path, then they will usually have four meals over a 24-hour span. This will incorporate breakfast, lunch, an afternoon meal and dinner. The calorie count will vary depending on the skin folds of the professional and their targeted goal, but it will be anywhere from 3000 to 3500 calories, including about 200g of protein, 300 carbohydrates and 125g of fat. Even meal will incorporate some form of protein, vegetable and carbs with some fats utilised at select times.
Of course no two rugby players or Super Rugby players are the same when it comes to the diet plan they establish. There will be dieticians and strength and conditioning coaches who are part of the backroom staff who also advise individuals to use supplements with the appropriate vitamins and minerals. This is designed to build up immunity to common illnesses and to facilitate healthy rehabilitation from injuries and the impacts of heavy contact on the body.