Ex BlackCap and Firebirds cricket player Andy McKay knows how important nutrition is to performance during domestic and international cricket games and tournaments. Now Clinic Manager and physiotherapist at the Proactive Wellington City clinic (72 Taranaki St), we asked Andy to reflect on tips and knowledge he has perfected over the years.
Physical training is the big focus in the lead up to tournaments; however what gives the edge is how you physically recover after a day’s play and the state of your body going into the next day’s play.
Being a “hard gainer” I have always been lucky not to have to watch my weight, but this is absolutely not just being able to eat what I want. Getting the right proteins and whole foods at the right time was the only way to maintain my performance (and weight).
What worked for me was be regulated and routined at the start of the day, literally eating the same breakfast during game time and making sure the balance of protein and carbs was right. It was pretty boring, not straying too far from eggs on toast, avocado on toast and a smoothie (the nutribullet is my friend!) but with consistency this then became part of my routine along with getting the kit ready and warming up and I knew I had fueled my body with what I needed, as it was tried and tested.
Keeping up the fuel levels were just as important as the kick start in the morning and having the right snacks at the right time was key. The snacks had to be readily available as soon as I finished my spell of bowling – literally straight after – and I learned that this kept my levels up to keep coming back strong.
I always found that sports drinks and the sugar spike that came with them didn’t make me feel good so tended to keep clear of these and for the most part preferred whole food options such as a banana, nuts or a protein shake.
As I was keeping control of breakfast and snacks I could afford to be less regulated at lunch. Post-game it was the same principle as with snacks, I found I had to have something within the first 30 mins post game; usually a banana and milk drink or smoothie. This way, I then enjoyed a normal, non-routined dinner without any negative affect.
Finding the balance that works best for you can take a while to figure out. Trial out different snacks over different tournaments and think back to what part of the tournament you felt your best and what and when you ate that may have helped you feel that way. In general, you’ll want to try to get some protein such as almonds/ mixed nuts, peanut butter on a cruskit, and cheese strings, and also some Carbs such as bananas and muesli bars (watch the sugar levels here, some are better than others) as these are some of the basic refueling you’ll need when expending a lot of energy. Note that these are snacks on the go, convenience is crucial. Keep track of what you’ve eaten after the tournament so you remember what works. Good luck!
Physiotherapist and Clinic Manager
Proactive Wellington City