Padel: nutrition and performance

Have you ever played Padel? Then you will certainly know what it means to play for 90 minutes with a lot of effort and a lot of muscular effort!

You warm up with a few dribbles to test your opponents and try your shots and then it’s all a snap , a turn, hitting the ball and hitting it on the ground, on the fly, on the rebound, on the wall… lots of breath, lots of concentration, lots of muscle work . What to eat when you train in Padel? Let’s see it together in this article!

The game of Padel: Stop and go!

Padel, like tennis, is an alternating, acyclic aerobic/anaerobic sport , i.e. a sport in which the technical gestures that characterize it are not always the same, they depend on the player, his execution skills, the progress of the match, the climate in which you play (for example if there is wind or not) … Padel is an intermittent game mode with moments of recovery (few) and play.

What to eat before taking the field

To play Padel it is important to have your muscles ready to snap in the first moments: in this moment what is used to produce energy is the phosphocreatine contained in the muscle cells. As the minutes pass, however, it is the sugars that are the masters in giving energy to our movements.

So it’s good to do:

  • A snack based on complex and simple sugars 90/120 minutes before entering the field.

Rusks (from 2 to 4 depending on the weight) with jam or honey, or a piece of fruit and yoghurt or a slice of homemade tart could be good solutions.

If you play after lunch, a pasta with tomato sauce 2 hours before is a good pre-game meal!

Hydration and performance: the risks of dehydration

Let’s not forget to drink! Having the right amount of hydration is necessary to maintain body temperature and to manage heat exchange during the game. The loss of fluids due to sweating equal to 1% of our body weight leads to:

  • Decline in performance
  • Decreased serve/smash strength
  • Less arm-leg coordination
  • Less return to serve
  • Increased risk of cramps

Staying normal hydrated is therefore very important!

Drink before, during and after

Getting hydrated when it’s time to take the field is a good habit: start drinking 1/2 liter of water in small sips an hour before the match.

In the first half of the game, depending on the needs and the weather, you can continue to drink water.

One hour from the start we can introduce 500/1000 ml of energy sports drink that contains water and sugars and electrolytes (sodium, chlorine, potassium, maltodextrin, 70% fruit juice diluted in water with 1 pinch of table salt for a “homemade” energy drink …) to avoid cramps and maintain proper hydration (sugars increase the absorption of liquids in the intestine compared to the ingestion of water alone!).

Obviously the amount of liquids to drink is indicative and also depends on the climate in which you play and how much you sweat.

At the end of the game, remember to drink water! You sweated and you need to replenish lost fluids and mineral salts!

Recovery of post match macros

Playing Padel has led to the consumption of muscle sugar stocks, it is necessary to restore them:

  • Yes to a snack based on sugars and proteins to allow a quicker detachment of sugars

A glass of cocoa milk, a sandwich with bresaola or defatted ham, fruit juice and Parmesan. If you prefer, for reasons of convenience or time, you can choose supplements based on proteins and carbohydrates (bars or powders); if it’s almost time for lunch or dinner you can skip the snack and have a complete meal based on carbohydrates (bread/pasta/potatoes), proteins (meat/fish/eggs/legumes/cheese) and vegetables.