Photo: TheBusyBrain

To perform your best on court you must maintain good health and fitness.

As part of the court side interview series, we asked Lisa Guy, who is a naturopath, author, and body and souls expert nutritionist; for her tips and advice for the right netball nutrition; what you should eat before, during and after a netball game.

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What meals and drinks do you recommend before a netball game and how long before should they be consumed?

Lisa: Simple carbohydrates absorb quickly into the blood stream giving you an instant source of energy. Simple carbs are the best type to eat 15-30 min before training as they leave the stomach quickly.

Simple carbohydrates (before training – quick hit of natural sugar): banana and other fruit, dried fruit, muesli bar, puffed rice cakes with a little almond butter and sliced banana, toast with a little raw honey or fruit juice.

Is it ok to eat slices of orange during a netball game?

Lisa: Oranges are a good choice during the game as they will give you a quick boost in natural sugars and energy. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system.

What fluids do you recommend should be consumed during a game to help maintain energy and keep hydrated?

Lisa: Electrolyte drinks are recommended during a game as they replace vital minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) and prevent dehydration, which can affect athletic performance causing muscle weakness, fatigue, and cramps. Electrolyte drinks ingested during a game will also provide you with carbohydrates for energy, improve stamina and endurance, and help improve muscle recovery and soreness. Endura is a good electrolyte powder that you can add to your drink bottle.

What are some recommended post game meals and drinks? How long after a game should these be consumed?

Lisa: Make sure you are well hydrated and have replaced any lost electrolyte minerals by having some more electrolyte drink just after the game.

Your post game meal should consist of some complex carbs to replace glycogen (glucose) stores in your muscles and liver, that would have been used up during the game. These types of carbs are rich in fibre and stay in stomach longer, so perfect for after a game, not before. Healthy complex carb choices include wholegrains (whole oats, brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal pasta and grainy breads), fruits and vegetables, and legumes. They will provide you with sustained energy for the rest of the day.

You also want to include some protein with your post game meal. Protein is needed to help repair muscles, prevent muscle loss and help with recovery. Good protein choices are fish, lean meat, chicken, eggs, tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds and dairy products.

What should you eat during the week to help improve performance at games and at training?

Lisa: Eat a nice healthy well-balanced diet including lots of fresh vegies and fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, fish, lean meats, eggs and dairy or organic soy products. This way you will be providing your body with all the essential nutrients it needs to function and perform optimally. Including immune boosting foods in the diet will help protect you from getting colds and flu’s and other illnesses, that can interfere with training and you performing at your best. Foods that help strengthen the immune system include garlic, ginger, onion, shitake mushrooms, seaweeds, spirulina, yoghurt, vitamin C rich citrus fruits, and antioxidant-rich red and orange fruits and vegies such as berries, tomatoes, and red capsicum. 

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Lisa is an experienced Sydney based naturopath and homeopath who runs a naturopathic practice called Art of Healing, and is the co-founder of The Happy Baby Clinic, a natural holistic healthcare centre for mothers and their babies. Lisa is the author of "My Goodness: all you need to know about children’s health and nutrition," and is Body and Souls nutrition expert.