T Nation

Diet Help for Rugby

How should I adjust my diet when in season? Everyone has been telling me lots of carbs. We currently practice from 8-10PM. I was under the impression that it is beneficial to eat less and less carbs as you go through the day… i.e. P+C in the morning, afternoon and P+F at night. I feel better when I have carbs before practice, and sometimes re-feeding carbs after practice… so when do I eat P+F? Also how should I change my in-season diet on non-practice days?

For a follow Rugger you should eat PRO + CHO post practice. This will refuel your glycogen store and repair you muscles. Eating a little something before is fine too. I would recommend something like Classic GROW. Something with a little carbs, but not too much to weigh you down. On non-workout days if you are trying to limit adipose tissue I would not consume a large amount of carbs after 7:00pm, with the exception you lift at or around this time. Hope this helps some.

Oh yeah,
In season I would up your carbs overall, and If in the offseason you need to cut a little, I would follow the P+F and P+C method. You play summer sevens anywhere?


sure, take in your carbs befor during and after if they help you. The carbs are going to be used as fuel and to refill your muscle glycogen at this point, same as lifting in the PM.

If you train @ night then you should have carbs @ night.

It is all dependent on the timing of your activity as well as time of day. So on days you dont train in the PM then you want your carbs in the AM in general. On training/practice days switch it up and take P+F in the AM.

Hope that helps

Hey, there, Jared!!!

Looking at your BF%, I’m going to assume that you’re basically happy with your current body composition; i.e., that you’re not cutting or bulking and that your goal/priority is optimizing performance. Let me know if I’m jumping to the wrong conclusion, here.

My recommendations based on the above stated goals are that you maintain your current protein intake; i.e., 1.5g of protein x LBM. I’d actually like to see you pick up fat a bit, as intramuscular triglycerides do influence performance to some degree.

In season I’d like to see you pick up fat to .6g x LBM, and make sure it’s from quality sources and that it’s a roughly 33% saturated, 33% monounsaturated and 33% polyunsaturated oils/fats.

For performance and endurance, I’d like to see you taking in a full 6-10g of EPA/DHA daily, which would fall into the polyunsaturated category.

Re the carbs, you’re just going to have to play with it and raise or lower your intake, based on weight loss (or gain) and flagging energy levels; i.e., if you lose weight or have low energy levels, you’ll need to increase carbs slightly. If you start gaining weight, more than a few pounds, you may wish to drop carbs a tad.

You do NOT need to take in carbs before your workouts or training, but you DO need to refill glycogen stores PWO, and that IS the time your body needs it most and that IS the time that your body is best able to process the carbs you take in.

If your practice is running 2 hours, I’d like to see you take in a half serving of Surge about 1 hour into training and another half serving upon completion. I know it’s not resistance training, but aerobic athletes (boxers, martial artists, and people who run marathons and compete in triathalons) do benefit from including Surge into their program when intensity and duration are particularly long or high.

Carb sources PWO should be of the starchy variety; rice, potatoes, pasta, oatmeal, other “clean” cereals. That’s the only way you’ll be able to take in a high enough volume of carbs.

If you want fruit, allow yourself a couple of servings a day, one upon rising and one PWO.

Prior to your workouts, limit carbs to green veggies.

What I’m recommending is based upon some of the principles we know and love here on T-mag, but it’s modified slightly because your focus/emphasis is on PERFORMANCE. Don’t worry about how many P+F or P+C meals you get. Worry about raising or lowering carbs to manage energy levels, performance and weight. As far as eating P+F meals, you can always add a couple of meals to what you eat currently, eat more frequently and get your fat in on those two (or more) meals. It all depends on how much you need to raise your carb intake. And as far as raising carb intake, just do it slowly. It’s all about learning your body and seeing what it needs and what you respond best to.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Ok… a couple questions… does PWO mean post workout AND post-practice? What would be an example of a good pre-practice meal? I need something that will “sit well” but also give me enough to subsist on in practice. I had a peanut butter and apple sandwich on whole wheat bread before last practice, but judging by your recommendations on fruit limitation that would not have been a good choice. Am I still trying to have P+F meals and P+C meals, or am I scrapping that for in-season nutrition?

Yes, Jared, I’m sorry. I type PWO so often that I forget not everybody knows what it stands for. PWO = Post WorkOut.

However, in your particular case, since practice is longer than one hour (and highly catabolic), I’d like to see you use Surge. I know you told me you were on a budget, but if I had to choose between something like my LC Grow and Surge, I’d choose Surge because I can always eat REAL protein. I consider protein shakes a convenience. I’ve seen threads on the topic where that seems to be the general consensus as well.

But since money is tight, I want you to come to your own conclusions re Surge. Read John Berardi’s article, “Solving the Post Workout Puzzle,” I & II. Just search T-Mag for the word “puzzle.”

I’d like to see you eat a substantial P+F meal before practice. I don’t have a problem with a serving of fruit before practice. It will refill liver glycogen stores (especialy if you’ve been eating P+F meals prior) and help maintain blood sugar levels. But you should really try it both ways, with and without fruit, to see how your body responds. Go back and forth between a serving of fruit before practice and practice without fruit prior until you are absolutely sure how your body responds and whether it helps with energy levels. There are some proponents of fruit before workouts and others who are against it for physiological reasons. Without going into all the science, I’d recommend that you test both ways and make your own decision.

Once again, you do NOT need P+C before a workout. When you eat carbs, they’re stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. Think of those reserves as a gas tank. Some people fill their gas tanks up before a trip (i.e., a workout). Some people fill up their gas tanks upon return from a trip (i.e., after a workout) so the car has fuel and is ready to go the next day. Both approaches work re maintaining performance and energy levels.

My reason for prefering to take in carbs PWO or PP (Post Practice) is to keep you in fat burning mode. Spiking insulin (by eating carbs prior to a workout or practice) kicks you out of fat burning mode. The other reason for preferring to take in carbs PWO is that is the time physiologically that the body is best able to process them.

And in case you’re wondering, I’ve used this approach with clients of mine that do marathon running. Peformance, energy and endurance have not suffered in the least. Quite the opposite.

If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Here’s how my schedule went this afternoon and what I ate: TT and others feel free to criticize.

2:00: 1 Cup 4% cottage cheese, 2 tbs Peanut butter

2:40-4:10: Olympic lifting session

4:20: 1 Cup 4% cottage cheese, 1 tbs fish oil, 1-2 oz cheddar cheese, 8-10 oz atkins chocolate carb countdown, small handful peanuts.

5:15 - 6:30: Practice

6:00: 2 scoops gatorade (no surge yet)

6:40: 1 scoop gatorade, ~40g protein.

7:20: 1-1.5 cups potato.

7:40: 95% lean hamburger on 1 slice whole wheat bread.

Also… I got lemon lime flavored fish oil on sale. It pretty much tasted like crap mixed in the cottage cheese. Any ideas on how to better use the fish oil, or what other types of meals to include it with?

One more question: What supplements should I be taking to maximize performance? I do have a limited budget, but I am not totally destitute. I will definitely consider Surge. What about a Glucosamine/MSM, or an r-ALA? Creatine does not work for me.

and Re: the PWO… I knew PWO stood for post workout, but I didn’t know if you wanted me to treat practice as a workout (so PWO would apply to post-practice as well), or if that was a seperate entity. Judging by your last post, I guess we are abreviating PostWorkOut PWO, and PostPractice PP. :slight_smile:

Ok, I’ll chime in since I play rugby. All my carbs come either from oatmeal (2 servings in the morning, and 1 after practice) gatorade mix(2 qt during fullbody workout and 2 qt during 2hr practice), veggies and/or fruit w/ just about every meal. I eat a lot of beef/ chicken/ cottage cheese/ cheese/ tuna/ flaxseed oil/ fish oil/ salmon. With the occasional pork if I can get it cheap. Currently averaging around 300cals a day, but gonna up it in-season cos I wanna maintain my weight. Meals are the standard P+C or P+F. It reall depends on the day as to how I order them, but the first meal is a large P+C (oatmeal, milk, protein powder), the rest depend on my class schedule as I workout at different times on all 3 of my workout days. But I usually have 3 P + F on lifting days w/ 2 more P+C otherwise on non lifting days i replace my postworkout P+C w/ another P+F. No surge, only use gatorade and protein powder and some cheap MRP’s. Still trying to get my hands on maltodextrin (I think that’s it) to replace the gatorade pwo. Oh, and I know it’s late, but exams are going on right now so I’ll post my in-season workout plan that will extend from next monday through the first week in june hopefully thurs night/friday.

ps. What school did you say you played for and what region are you in and what division?? (Ohio University, D2, Midwest here)

First off, from the look of things, you’re eating all of your food in 6 hours and fasting 18. If that’s the case and I’m not mistaken, you need to change that ASAP. To perform optimally and to deal with recovery issues and to handle the building and repair that goes on, you need to be eating every 3 hours. 6 meals as a minimum, Jared.

Cottage cheese should not be a primary protein source, Jared. You need real meat, and as an athlete that wants to optimize performance, ditch those bars. You need to be eating chicken, lean ground beef, eggs, fish, turkey. You know the deal. Real food!!! The kind you chew. Cottage cheese isn’t bad mixed with protein powder. But you need to be getting 40-45g of protein per meal at each of your six meals. The cottage cheese isn’t cutting it.

Another thing is that prior to your workout or practice you need to be eating P+F meals or P+C meals with the C coming from green veggie sources. After your workout or practice you should be taking in a Surge-type drink and then P+C meals with C coming from starchy carb sources.

Try taking in your fish oil with canned tuna, mayo, celery, onion. If you jazz up your tuna fish a bit, you should barely notice it.

I’d say skip the supps at this point and focus on your diet. You just need to be taking in good quality food, properly timed and in the right amounts. That’s far more important than any supp.

When practice is 2 hours in length, yes, treat it as if you had a workout and have Surge or a Surge type drink with P+C (C from starchy sources) meal or two after that. 2 hours is highly catabolic.

God knows how you will last the season eating that little.
i’m guessing your workouts are very low key or you have a VERY slow metabolism.

You are mistaken. I just was posting the meals surrounding my workout and practice times. If I eat too much before I workout I usually vomit. Same with practice, but if I’m not mistaken, I got just around 600 calories from my pre practice meal. I’ll keep a complete food log tomorrow and post.

I do not eat bars, just protein powder.

Oh, and I play D3 in Rochester, NY

Thanks for the clarification, Jared. I feel much better. (grin)

If you read JB’s article on solving the PWO Puzzle, you’ve probably realized that your PWO nutrition sucks. Sorry to say it that way, but post-lifting you should be taking in Surge or something of like kind. You need to be spiking insulin to drop cortisol levels. You need to start the process of refilling glycogen stores. You want to kick protein synthesis into overdrive. All of those things go to protecting LBM and helping with recovery.

Another thing is that your Olympic lifting session is awfully close to your practice, and both are a bit on the long-ish side, which is less than ideal; i.e., a bit catabolic. I know you don’t have any control over practice, but are you locked into the time for your Olympic lifting? Could you do it earlier so that there was a greater time separation between the two?

TT you rule…


Whetu, you’ve got it all wrong. I’m here to SERVE, not RULE. (chuckling)

Thank you. What happened to your PM?

TT, usually PWO I have my protein + gatorade (yes, I know, no surge, but hopefully I’ll get a gatorade replacement over break next week). Then about an hour later its usually 2 chicken breasts, a bag of veggies, and another protein shake. Based on what you have said, I am going to assume it would be best to change the veggies to something like pasta and make a chicken alfredo type meal?? (low fat sauce obviously).