“The goal isn’t a medal. The goal is to beat the best.” – P. V. Sindhu
Lightning-fast reflexes, remarkable agility, and an insatiable hunger for victory are the core defining features of a badminton player at the top of their game. And to beat the best, you need the right fuel running through your veins. You wouldn’t drive a sports car on an empty tank. So, how can you expect to conquer the court without a good diet plan backing you up?
And it’s not just about match days. Your sports diet can dictate whether you’ll miss crucial games due to injuries. Or if you’ll struggle to find your groove during badminton practice. Your power levels, concentration, and ability to dominate the court are all tied to your nutritional plan.
That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. In this blog post, we’ll dive headfirst into the world of badminton nutrition. We’ll uncover what to eat, when to eat, and how to dominate your opponents like a prime Lin Dan or Tai Tzu-Ying. Our goal here is to guide you in developing a well-rounded badminton player’s diet chart.
The basics of nutrition for badminton players
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of sports nutrition for badminton training, we must discuss the fundamentals. You might be itching to fast-forward to the specifics but hang on a sec. Skipping the basics is like trying to build a skyscraper without a solid foundation – it’s bound to crumble.
The ideal diet plan for badminton players (or any athlete, for that matter) contains the holy trinity of nutrition – proteins, carbs, and fats. These three essential macronutrients form the foundation of every player’s diet.
Carbohydrates: 60% of a sports diet plan
Carbs take center stage as the powerhouse of energy. The fuel helps you with those smashing shots and lightning-fast footwork.
Badminton players can load up on carbohydrates a day or two before their game day to optimally fill up their glycogen stores. This gives the body the necessary glucose to break down during the game.
It’s also recommended to drink glucose drinks during the breaks. Fructose-based drinks are best avoided, as your body needs time to transform fructose into glucose. This can cause low blood sugar levels and fatigue during games.
Protein: 15% of a sports diet plan
Proteins are the muscle-makers that keep players at the top of their game. A protein-rich diet is considered essential for every athlete. But badminton players don’t really need to rely on sports nutrition supplements for that extra dose of protein. They can usually get enough from their diet alone.
Players suffering from badminton injuries can consider taking protein sports nutrition supplements. It can help them with faster recovery.
Fat: 25% of a sports diet plan
Fats play their part in the background, supporting overall health and functioning. During intense and long badminton games or practices, the body can use fats for energy, particularly when it runs out of glycogen (stored carbohydrates). They also help better absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Other nutrition basics to keep in mind
- Optimise vitamin and mineral intake through a balanced diet. Badminton players need vitamins like thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and iron for the extra calories they burn during the play
- Increasing dietary electrolyte intake can help meet sodium demands
- The body’s potassium needs can be met by frequently including potassium-rich foods like bananas
Take the cue from P.V. Sindhu
Two-time Olympic medal-winner P.V. Sindhu’s diet plan is usually prepared months in advance. And she rarely deviates from it. There is a fine balance of proteins and carbs that helps with endurance. Her breakfast usually comprises of milk, eggs, and fruits. Dry fruits and energy drinks make the mid-game snack. Lunch and dinner also contain healthy carbs and proteins, like vegetables, rice, and chicken. Basically, everything is monitored and measured.
What to eat before and after a game?
Knowing what to eat before and after hitting the court is critical to any athlete’s playbook. Here’s what we suggest –
Before the Session
Fuel up wisely before badminton practice. Focus on carbs for energy. Go for whole grains, quinoa, brown rice, or whole-wheat bread. And don’t forget the protein. Choose lean options like chicken, fish, tofu, or beans.
Also, remember that slow-digesting foods can slow you down on the court. So, plan your meals with easily digestible foods, like fruits. Some other options include –
- Muesli with yogurt/milk and fresh fruits
- Eggs and toast with fruit juice
- Fruit smoothies with honey
We would also suggest eating 3 hours before playing to minimise the chances of gastrointestinal upset.
After the Session
The food you eat after your badminton training session is just as important. Your body will need to refuel and replace lost glycogen.
So what should be your top priorities here? Protein, vitamins, and healthy fats.
Protein-rich foods are packed with amino acids, which help rebuild those muscles that take a hit during the game. Add egg whites, beans, lentils, peanut butter sandwiches, or sunflower seeds to your diet. Players can also use sports nutrition supplements like Soy, Casein, and Whey protein for recovery after a badminton practice or game.
Also, did you know what’s another thing that’s great for tired muscles? Healthy carbs! Yes, after that intense badminton session, adding some carbs like fruits, potatoes, and whole grains helps your muscles bounce back faster. For healthy fats, snack on a handful of walnuts, almonds, and peanuts. They’re also good sources of vitamins B and E.
And of course, water. You can add some electrolytes to your water to replace lost fluids from sweating during the session.
What to eat during the day for optimal performance?
It’s the day of the game. And maybe, in the anticipation and excitement for the game, you won’t feel like having much. But if you wish to stay power-packed throughout the game, you have to fuel up. Think about foods that are easy to digest and will keep your energy levels high.
For the Indian badminton star Ashwini Ponappa, it’s all about the timing of the match. If the match is past noon, she goes all-in with a wholesome breakfast spread: cheese, bread, Bircher muesli, and fruits to power up her day. But when it’s the day’s first match, she has a different game plan. Instead of a meal, she chooses an energy drink or a smoothie bowl just around 20 minutes before the match. That’s how she rocks her nutrition strategy, which seems to work wonders for her.
Hydration is key before, during, and after the game. Water helps fight off lactic acid build-up and keeps your muscles in great condition. Remember, a well-hydrated player is a high-performing player. So don’t forget to keep that water bottle and sports drink close by.
The importance of hydration
Hydration is crucial when you’re playing an intense sport like badminton. You’ve probably heard this before, and we’ll say it again because it’s just that important.
Picture this â you’re out there on the court, battling it out with all your might. The sweat is pouring down, the adrenaline is pumping, and your muscles are working overtime. That’s when dehydration sneaks in, ready to take you down. You’re left wondering why you’re feeling sluggish and off your game.
Badminton demands speed, agility, and precision. But dehydration can wreak havoc on your performance, causing you to lose focus and make costly mistakes. The risk of dehydration can increase when you play in warm and humid environments, especially indoors, where it’s harder for your body to cool down.
Signs of dehydration to watch out for
Hydration isn’t just some fancy word thrown around by health experts; it’s the real deal regarding your performance. Losing just 2% of your body’s water can mess up your game big time. We’re talking about muscular dysfunction, reduced power, strength, speed, decreased cognitive performance, and a higher risk of injury.
Dehydration can be sneaky. Here are some signs that could indicate that your body might be in need of some replenishing fluids –
- You’ll start feeling thirsty all of a sudden.
- You might start to feel fatigued like your energy’s just drained away.
- Your muscles might cramp up, causing those painful twinges mid-game.
- Your heart rate might go through the roof, making it harder for you to keep up that killer pace.
- Your mouth will start feeling dry as a desert.
The colour of your urine can also tell you a lot about your hydration levels. If it’s dark yellow and you’re barely going, that’s a red flag, my friends.
How to stay hydrated while playing badminton?
Performance nutritionist, Tom Hill, advises players to aim for around 250-900ml of water or a sports drink. This can vary based on your hydration status and how much you’re sweating.
- During your session, especially when it’s tough, be extra cautious and sip on water in between. Some players might not want to chug too much because it feels heavy. And that’s okay. You can also take small sips, but remember to drink.
- For badminton training sessions lasting over 60 minutes, drink every 5 to 15 minutes in small amounts. And for sessions under 45 minutes, don’t go overboard with the water during the action â you can rehydrate after.
- Now, after you’ve given your all, it’s time to replenish what you’ve lost. Grab that water bottle and drink 1.5 times the volume you’ve shed during play. Calculate it like this â the difference between your pre and post-exercise weight, times it by 1.5.
As for the fluids that can help you hydrate, you can choose between –
- Water, the most effective
- Natural drinks like coconut water help in hydration
- Sports drinks to replenish lost electrolytes
- Fruit-infused water for a refreshing twist
Tips for a healthy and balanced diet for badminton players
Who says that a badminton player’s diet chart has to be complicated? We have some great tips to help you plan your sports diet quickly and efficiently.
- Consistent Meals: Keep a consistent eating schedule of 3-5 meals daily, and don’t skip those snacks. While a pre-match or pre-training meal is crucial, remember that your overall nutrition matters even more. Think about fueling your body throughout the day.
- Tailor your meals for optimal performance: Prepare a meal that suits your weight and activity level. Before playing, aim for 1.2-4g of carbohydrates, 0.3g of protein, and 0.1g of healthy fats per kilogram of your weight. During high-intensity games, keep the carbs to 30-60g per hour to maintain your energy levels. And finally, consume a mix of carbs and protein to help your body recover post-match.
- Use Visual Cues for Nutrition: Create visual cues or vision boards of your favourite healthy meals and snacks to remind yourself of your nutrition goals and motivate yourself.
- Snack Smartly: Keep healthy snacks, such as nuts, fruits, seeds, or energy bars, in your badminton bag to satisfy hunger between games and maintain energy levels.
- Incorporate Superfoods: Include superfoods like chia seeds, amla, sprouts, and kokum in your diet. These are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, aiding recovery and overall health.
- Gut Health: A healthy gut can improve nutrient absorption and positively influences brain health and cognitive function. Consume probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or fermented vegetables.
- Avoid Excessive Sugar: Limit your sugar intake. Too much can cause energy dips and poor performance.
And there you have it, a comprehensive look into the perfect sports diet for all you passionate badminton enthusiasts. See the bigger picture now? Perfecting your game is not just about nailing those swings and smashes. You’ve got to be mindful of your diet and nutrition too.
With this article’s useful information and tips, you can now create the perfect badminton players’ diet chart for your needs. But why do it alone when you can be part of a supportive and sports-loving community?
If you want to learn more about sports, diet and nutrition, check out Playo. It is an app that brings together the world’s largest sports community. Share your own diet charts, swap tips about nutrition, discuss your victories, and play with players around you. You can also book nearby sports venues for your matches.
The Playo community is already 2 million users strong. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and join the community today!