Jonny adds. “Some clubs have two or three matches in a week, often back-back, night after night. It is quite difficult, but you just need to be a bit more prepared, have your meals laid out.” Lots of players prefer not to eat a big dinner ahead of training, as it can affect their game. “It is the meal between lunch and the training time that people often struggle with,” says Jonny. “If you don’t want a big meal because you can’t digest it, have a snack about 4 or 5pm. If it’s late when you get home, try a smoothie with porridge oats, Greek yoghurt, chocolate milk, banana and berries. It’s a great one to get you recovering before bed. Sleep is important too, you don’t want to be up late at night trying to digest a full meal.”
For anyone struggling with a sports injury, there are certain foods that may speed up recovery, as Jonny explains. “After my injury, I made sure to get a lot of micro-nutrients,” he recalls. These are the vitamins and minerals we only need in small amounts, like fluoride, zinc, iodine, as well as vitamins A, D, E, K and B Complex.
“Like anyone with a soft tissue injury,” he continues, “protein timing is important too. You should have a decent serving every three to four hours. Within the protein there’s an amino acid called leucine, which is the most important one for muscle protein response. After that, you need enough micro-nutrients to allow your body to repair. Anti-inflammatory foods like onion, garlic, pineapple and turmeric might help get you off crutches a week earlier, and that can then have a big effect on your position in the team. Nutrition gave me a focus after my injury, and allowed my body to recover. It’s about ticking the box in a positive sense, and giving yourself every chance.”