Indian Premier League or IPL is one of the most anticipated cricketing events worldwide, with the world’s finest cricketers competing in a high-pressure, fast-paced cricket tournament where the players need to stay fit and healthy throughout the season to maintain their top performance level. The importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise cannot be overstated, especially in a tournament where the players are constantly on the go.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr J Haikishan, Senior General Physician at Kamineni Hospitals in Hyderabad, suggested that the cricketers maintain a well-balanced diet consisting of high protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and plenty of fruits and vegetables. He advised, “A healthy diet is essential to maintain optimal energy levels, endurance and performance. A diet rich in protein helps in muscle repair and growth, while complex carbohydrates provide the necessary energy for sustained physical activity. In addition to a well-balanced diet, it is essential to stay hydrated throughout the tournament. The players should drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to avoid dehydration. Adequate hydration helps maintain optimal body temperature, which is crucial during long, intense matches.”
As for exercise, he recommended, “It is crucial for cricketers to maintain a consistent workout routine. The training should focus on building strength, endurance, and agility. Strength training helps in building muscle mass and improving overall strength, while endurance training improves cardiovascular health and stamina. Agility training helps in improving balance, coordination, and flexibility, all of which are essential for cricket. Incorporating stretching exercises into the workout routine is also crucial to prevent injuries. Stretching before and after a match helps in preventing muscle strains, sprains, and other injuries. A proper warm-up routine also helps in improving blood circulation, oxygen supply to the muscles, and reduces the risk of injury.”
The health expert added, “A well-balanced diet and consistent exercise routine are essential for cricketers to maintain optimal performance levels throughout the IPL season. A diet rich in protein and complex carbohydrates, along with plenty of fluids, is crucial to maintain energy levels and avoid dehydration. Regular strength, endurance, and agility training, along with stretching exercises, help prevent injuries and improve performance. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, cricketers can perform at their best and lead their teams to victory in the IPL season. ”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Vani Krishna, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Manipal Hospital Varthur Road, Msc Nutrition and Dietetics, Certified Sports Nutritionist at SAI and Certified Bariatric Nutritionist, gushed, “In India, cricket is the most famous form of sports from decades. We celebrate the joy to the fullest from the test match to the world cup. Have you any time thought about what diet the sportsmen eat? Nutrition plays an important role in the field of sports because better the nourishment better the performance. Eating an adequate amount of carbs, protein, fats, fluids are the vital components of food for a player. The food during training, eating before and after the match, hydration plays a vital role in the performance of a player.”
Talking about the pre-game meals, she said, “The meal should provide adequate energy, so that players will not feel hungry during the game . The meal should be composed of carbs, moderate protein and limit on fat content. A larger meal is recommended before 4 hours of the game starts, which ensures the food is digested and ready for the match.” She recommended the following diet plan:
- Foods to include two hours prior to the game
- Protein shake with dates / raisins
- Banana milk shake with nuts
- Cornflakes with milk and fresh seasonal fruits
- Bread with peanut butter
- Ragi porridge with nuts
- Cheese Sandwich
2. Pre-Game, 30 to 60 minutes – Players should have light meals or drinks to avoid bloating and abdominal discomfort. Food should in less in fat content.
- Sports drinks
- Flavored curd / yogurt
- Granola bar
- Sports gel
3. During the Match – Players must take the break as an advantage to top up the energy and fluids in the body. Try to include carbohydrate rich food , which is low in fat and contains enough fluids. Meals consumed during the cricket match must provide complex carbohydrates to keep the blood glucose level normal.
Food choices includes
- Seasonal fruit
- Sandwiches with lean meat / chicken
- Bread with jam
- Sports bar
- Cereal bar
4. Recovery Phase – The most important phase for a player is the recovery phase. Immediate refueling after the match is to replenish the fluids and energy. Recovery meal intake should start as soon as the match finishes. The meal should contain protein along with carbohydrates with adequate fluids to match up the lost electrolytes. Protein carb meal helps the player to accelerate the post-match protein synthesis.
Liquids to include
- Sports drink
- Carb dense meal
- Energy bars
- Whey protein shakes
- Fresh fruits
- Tuna salad
- Muesli with yoghurt
- Almond milk
- Fruit milk shakes
- Trail mix of nuts and seeds
- Egg scrambled
5. Hydration – Maintain an euhydrated state before the match to keep the electrolyte and normal plasma in the body. Avoid consuming too much fluid before and during the game since it may upset your stomach and make you frequently urinate. Plain water is the most effective drink to replenish the fluid lost. Mouth rinse with carb containing liquids can improve the performance and fatigue. To restore the depleted glycogen stores, sports drinks and gel can be included.