Celebrated as one of the great amateur sports, the passion and pride inside the GAA is like no other. As we enter the start of the summer months, those players representing their counties are in the thick of their Championship campaigns, whereas the club players are now in full on preparation as their campaigns are fast approaching and soon to kick off.
During this period of intense preparation, players may be taking part in 5-6 sessions a week with total training time amounting to 8+ hours in this 7-day period, all on top of the typical day to day work, life and family commitments. Given this load, both on and off the field, it is essential for players to know how to get the most out of their bodies and be confident in their performance strategies.
To help support those of you who are undertaking the challenge this summer and togging out for your club or county, our team at hexis has pulled together a short list of top tips for you to aim to implement on a regular basis to help fuel your peak performances throughout your campaigns.
1) Carbohydrate load before your game.
The running demands of elite competition are high, with players often covering between 7.5-10 km in a single game, of which ~1500m are at high speed, and ~500m were sprinting. The high-intensity nature of the game means your body needs sufficient high-intensity fuel in its tank to best prepare, and that means fuelling up with higher intakes of carbohydrates. However, having a high carb pre-game meal will not suffice; instead, it is recommended to increase your carbohydrate intake in the 24-48hrs prior to throw in to effectively top up your fuel stores and help limit fatigue so you can make those match-winning runs when it matters most. A simple way to get your fuel plan in place is to use the “Competition” toggle when adding a game to hexis. The platform will recognise the importance of the event and effectively plan your carbohydrate load for you. Topping up your fuel stores in the lead up to competition is one of the easiest ways you can enhance your performance.
2) Prime your key performance workouts.
Similar to game days, some of your harder training sessions will require you to top up your fuel stores the day before (although not to the same extent as if you were preparing for a game). These training sessions are often hard, long and intense training performed at a similar intensity to games and require you to be at your best, understanding the increase in Exercise Energy Expenditure is key to preparing your body. At hexis we refer to these types of workouts as “Key Performance” workouts and recommend using the “Key Performance” toggle to identify these in your training calendar when adding them. But why is it important to identify these in your week? Well, as well as fuelling up with sufficient carbohydrates and energy in the meals and snacks before the workout, increasing your intake the evening before may also be required to help limit fatigue and get you in the best place to perform on the pitch.
3) Capitalise on your rest days.
Just as important as the time and attention you give to preparing to push yourself to the limit is the time and attention required to help your body rest, recover and adapt to the training it’s been exposed to. Rest days are often characterised with lower energy requirements as you take a break from training but giving yourself the right foods during this period can have a phenomenal impact on your body. Despite the lower energy needs and some low and medium Carb Code recommendations to ensure you are not overfuelling, your protein requirements will not vary. It is still recommended to keep a consistent intake of approximately 1.6-2.5g/kg of body weight a day (e.g if you weigh 70kgs then aim for 112-175g of protein a day). Hexis will work this out for you on a daily basis and you can check out your requirement for this macronutrient on the Kcals and Macros screen. Why is protein so important? Well, it can often take 48hrs to repair the muscle damaged induced by training so the steady supply of protein will ensure your body has enough of the raw materials it needs to rebuild itself. Discover more about how to eat for recovery and our High Protein Recovery Pancake on our Eating to recover doesn’t need to be boring article.
4) Remove the guesswork.
Getting confidence in your plan can free up your mental energy to focus on other aspects of your performance or life. A simple way to get this clarity is to plan in advance and add your workouts to hexis 24-48hrs ahead of time. This way every day you wake up you’ll be able to check your Carb Codes and have a clear picture of how best you can fuel your day to get the most from your body.
To discover how hexis can work for you and your team's championship run, check out our features page. Or sign up today and save 25% with the code CHAMPO