Fuelling your way to success

Been inspired by the England Rugby pros? We find out how they power their performance

England’s Rugby World Cup team have been showing off their skills on the pitch, but game day performance is about more than nifty footwork. So what can we learn from the pros? It starts in the kitchen… 

Lesson number one: carbs are key. Pre-game, you’re aiming to max out your muscle glycogen stores to give you the energy you need. Think: spaghetti, noodles and rice. Three hours before hitting the pitch, England Rugby players chow down on a matchday meals containing 150-300g carbohydrate. They’ll then often grab something like a granola bar 30-60 minutes before heading out. 

Half time? Time to replenish those carb stores. England Rugby nutritionists suggest nibbling on something that contains 20-30g carbohydrate. Think: a 500ml bottle of sports drink, a large banana or an energy gel. 
The post-game snackYour post-game snack kickstarts the recovery process, which means it’s vital if you’re training daily or looking ahead to that next key fixture. Aim to consume 60-90g of carbohydrate and 30g of protein BEFORE you leave the dressing room, say the England Rugby experts

Smoothies and fruit (fresh or dried) are a good source of carbs, while Kings Jerky & Biltong, founded by former international rugby players and England Rugby’s official meat and protein snack supplier, offers a convenient, natural source of protein, made from the planet’s best quality beef.

Find out more about Kings Jerky & Biltong, official meat and protein snack supplier to England Rugby, and connect on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter.

It’s available nationwide at all leading grocery and convenience stores inlcuding Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Co-op, Costco, BP, and Waitrose.

The recovery meal
But don’t skip dinner. Between them, your snack and recovery meal should provide you with 150-300g of carbohydrates (to replenish muscle glycogen stores) and 40g of protein (to kickstart muscle repair) plus plenty of healthy fats and vegetables. Try these recovery recipes recommended by England Rugby. 

Hydration is crucial – studies show that dehydration stresses the cardiovascular system, reduces physical capacity and increases injury risk. England Rugby players aim to drink 6-8ml of water per kg body weight in the two hours before kick-off and 250ml-1L per hour during game breaks. It’s also important to replenish lost fluids after a game or training session. Weigh yourself before and after, then drink 1.5 x the weight you lose, e.g. if you lose 1kg, drink 1.5 litres of water (or a sports/recovery drink).