T Nation

Nutrition before and after a Game

I would like some advice please. I currently play basketball 3 to 4 times a week for between 1 and 2 hours. I play outdoors (Georgia Heat) at a very hard pace with limited breaks. I’m 39, 6ft tall, 185lbs with approx. 9%bf.

My question is, what do you recommend nutritionally before and after a game? Also what is your opinion of the likely impact on muscle mass gains? I’m concerned about muscle loss, or the inability to gain additional muscle due to the intense basketball games. I lift weights 3 to 4 days a week for approx. 1 hour each session.

Currently I eat a small meal (400 calories or so evenly split between carbs and protein) before playing, then eat a much larger meal (900 calories or so split roughly in thirds fat/protein/carbs) within an hour of the end of play. I drink plenty of water before during and after, yet still drop between 2 to 5 lbs of weight per playing session. I typically pick the weight back up in about a day to a day and a half. Comments? Thanks.

I am nowhere near as qualified as many others here to suggest post- and pre-workout/game nutrition, but I can tell you what’s possible as far as muscle loss/gain. For the year that I took off from college, I had the best possible (for me) routine, since I love both basketball and the iron game. I worked third shift as a stocker at grocery store, but only worked 40 hours a week. 40 hours a week is a vacation compared to working nearly full time and going to school. I would get off work at 6:30 in the morning and head home to eat before heading to the university (Clemson) gym around 7:30 or so. I would then work out. I found I had my best workouts after working a semi-physical job for 8 hours. Not sure why, but they were great. I’d work out for 45 minutes to an hour, and then head to the empty (at that time of the day) basketball courts. I would just practice shooting and stuff for anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on hunger and fatigue. I believe this helped my shooting tremendously. I would then head home to sleep the day away like a good vampire. In the afternoon, I would get up and head back down to the gym to play some more, but this time running full court games for an hour or two before getting ready for work. Quite a bit of activity during this time in my life, but I think I looked the best I ever have at that time. I put on a decent amount of muscle while the weights really went up, I played the best basketball of my life, and was probably in the best aerobic condition of my life (that last part isn’t saying much). Something else I might recommend is lowering the reps and trying to squat as much as you can, even using partial reps. I started trying this at the suggestion of a friend (more from him making fun of how little I squatted), and it really worked. I went from being a primarily one-leg jumper to being able to throw it down with two hands during a game off of two legs (not terribly bad for a 6’2’’ 230lb uncoordinated white boy). So it’s quite possible to elevate your game along with your lifting, but you definitely have to ingest more calories (a cardiologist would freak if he saw what I was eating) and get plenty of sleep. Luckily I had both readily available. It’s also nice having some extra muscle if you ever have to play a post position. 1) Position is yours for the taking and 2) They don’t think you’re a threat speed- or skill-wise if you’re big.

I am in the same position, lifting 3-4 days/week plus playing hoops around 3 days a week plus 1 soccer game a week. I am trying to put on mass, but I am also curious as to what effects this may have on muscle gain/loss.