Rugby Diet and Nutrition Tips


Nutrition plays such an important part in a rugby players career, making sure the right foods and fluids are absorbed into the body on a daily basis.

Along with a regular training regime, correct nutrition can make the body and mind work much more effectively, not only producing results in training, but on the field of play.

There are numerous foods which are advised in a players diet, some more important that others.

Carbohydrate Foods

Carbohydrate foods are consumed regularly in the diet, a group of foods which best produce the bodies main source of energy.

  • For breakfast, eat cereal and breads, which are carbohydrate rich.
  • When snacking, consume muesli bars, crackers, fruit etc
  • For main meals, eat pasta, rice, potatoes etc as well as vegetables.

These foods will benefit players when recovering and preparing for training and matches, and will improve muscle gain.


Low hydration levels can effect any rugby players mental ability, inflicting badly in decision making. Keeping good hydration can improve concentration and longevity.

  • Consume 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day to maintain high levels
  • Two hours before game time, drink half a litre of water to improve concentration and physical stability
    When consuming meals and snacks, try to include a glass of water.
  • Keeping fluids up helps recovery, as the amount lost during training and games is extremely high.

Protein Foods

Eat moderate amounts of protein foods to balance your diet and add variety.

Moderate amounts of foods such as meat, fish and dairy products add to the balance of your diet but must be analyzed, as these foods are not your main source on energy.

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables play a vital part in every person’s diet and are essential for energy. Consume five of more servings of fruit and vegetables per day, plus your requirement of carbohydrate foods. These can strengthen muscles, prevent illness, sickness and help body recovery.

Low Fat Foods

Along with a balanced diet, low fat foods can be consumed as snacks and be regular in your diet without putting on unneeded body weight. Foods such as fresh fruit, low fat smoothies, cereal bars, dried fruit etc can be snacked throughout the day, giving the body adequate energy when needed.


  • High in fat foods before and during exercise, training and matches.
  • Large amounts of alcohol, which can lead to slower recovery of injuries, unnecessary increase in body weight and poor hydration levels.
  • Carbohydrate foods late at night which can also add unwanted body weight.
  • Excess amounts of protein rich foods, which can by high in fat and calories.

Correct nutrition plays such a massive part in professional sport, and if every players follows the correct guidelines while consuming foods and liquids, fitness and training can become a lot easier and and motivation levels can be at a premium.

  1. coach dan says

    Rugby coaches are in a good position to influence players to become healthier, so it’s worth trying to boost your team’s rugby fitness and awareness with a bit of education.

    Carbo education tips for the players

    Carbohydrates are recognised to have the most immediate affect on players’ performance. Despite the horrors outlined by some trendy diets, there are many staple foods which provide excellent sources of carbohydrates, for instance potatoes and pasta.

    On average, carbohydrates makes up at least half of a player’s total energy intake.

    In rugby, the intensity of the sport means that carbohydrates are the primary energy source.

    All milk has the same carbohydrate content, but differs in fat content. Therefore players would be better to drink semi skimmed or skimmed milk.

    There is little evidence to suggest any difference for performance on whether a player should eat complex carbohydrates (for example. pasta or potatoes) or simple carbohydrates (for example, sweets and fruit).

    Keep the balance

    A diet cannot just be carbohydrates. It must include protein, fat and hydration. It is worth asking players what they are eating and drinking, if only to help them make their own more informed decisions.

    The key is to avoid high-carb foods which also have a high fat content, which may lead to weight gain. For example, crisps and pizza are two hazards to be avoided.

    What’s good to eat?

    Some healthier, low-fat, high-carb foods are rice, popcorn, breakfast cereals, fruit, toast and honey, potatoes and pasta. Treats might include sweets, such as fruit gums and chocolate, and even cola, though this drink is not a substitute for water.

    Baked potatoes and sandwiches are good “whole” meals, as long as the fillings avoid too much fat. So cut down on the butter, cheese and mayonnaise, and use baked beans, lean meats and low fat cheeses instead.

  2. donald zengeni says

    i find the article on nutrition helpfull ,i will read more

  3. Gabriel Coelho says

    well… I have a different aproach on protein levels on a diet! Low protein diet leads to low metabolism and longer recovery time! a good aminoacid intake (whole proteins, such as egg whites and chicken brest) is amazingly effective on muscular recovery!

    Rugby is not just about calory consumption! rucks, mauls, tackles and scrums are basically anaerobic activities, and muscle recruitment is far bigger thar on a race track or soccer game! It provokes high levels of in-training and in-game catabolism, and it MUST be reversed by aminoacid intake! mainly on the “window” after training or game!

    using low protein diets will lead to loss of muscle tissue, due to catabolism, degradation of the immune system, leaving athlets more prone to getting sick, and will slow down the overall metabolism, increasing chances of fat deposits addin “dead weight” to the athlete!

    Carbs are hugelly important, and never should be taken out of an athlete’s diet, but proteins are the construction block of muscle and connective tissue!

    SOME fat is also essential to hormone production and non-saturated fat helps on fat metabolism in the body, increasing energy mobilization from fatty reserves!

    the “carb cult” and the old fashioned “food pyramid”, mainly from the 50’s, should be long gone in 2011!

  4. ady says

    hope you can help, i coach U15’s and was going to give them isotonic drinks during training and games. I’ve been told by one of the other coaches that i carn’t do this, i need a second opinion as you really do have to take a pinch of salt with most of what he says ;0) if he’s right is there an alternative, ty ady.

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