Having the right foods, drinks and proper rest before playing sport will help you to become a better athlete. Exercising and getting enough rest as well as eating a balanced diet will help to keep your muscles healthy.

You should avoid eating and drinking right before you begin exercising. Food consumed before exercise is only useful if it has been digested and absorbed. You need to time your food intake so that you will have fuel for exercising. The time needed for digestion varies depending on the type of food you eat. Generally, foods which have a higher fat content, are high in protein and fibre tend to take longer to digest. Try to have a meal about 3-4 hours before exercise or a light snack 1-2 hours before. You will probably need to experiment to find a time that will suit you.

If you plan on eating before exercising, you should eat carbohydrates. The food should also be low in fat and moderate in fibre to make digestion easier and avoid discomfort. Sometimes it may not be practical to eat 3-4 hours before exercise, especially if you plan on exercising early in the morning. If you plan on exercising in the morning you should try and have a light snack about an hour beforehand. You could have some fruit or cereal with some fluids such as a glass of milk or juice.

It is important to rest and recover after exercising or playing sport. Rest is important, it allows your muscles to repair and strengthen themselves. Sleep is one of the most important forms of rest as it provides your body with time to adapt to the physical and mental demands of exercise. Ensure that your sleep is of a good quality i.e. dark and quiet room.

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