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ijerph-18-05398-v2.pdf (1.13 MB)

Competition Nutrition Practices of Elite Male Professional Rugby Union Players

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-26, 00:08 authored by Logan Posthumus, Kirsty Fairbairn, Katrina Darry, Matthew DrillerMatthew Driller, Paul Winwood, Nicholas Gill
Thirty-four elite male professional rugby union players from the New Zealand Super Rugby championship completed dietary intakes via the Snap-N-Send method during a seven-day competition week. Mean seven-day absolute energy intake was significantly higher for forwards (4606 ± 719 kcal·day−1) compared to backs (3761 ± 618 kcal·day−1; p < 0.01; d = 1.26). Forwards demonstrated significantly higher mean seven-day absolute macronutrient intakes compared to backs (p < 0.03; d = 0.86–1.58), but no significant differences were observed for mean seven-day relative carbohydrate (3.5 ± 0.8 vs. 3.7 ± 0.7 g·kg·day−1), protein (2.5 ± 0.4 vs. 2.4 ± 0.5 g·kg·day−1), and fat (1.8 ± 0.4 vs. 1.8 ± 0.5 g·kg·day−1) intakes. Both forwards and backs reported their highest energy (5223 ± 864 vs. 4694 ± 784 kcal·day−1) and carbohydrate (4.4 ± 1.2 vs. 5.1 ± 1.0 g·kg·day−1) intakes on game day, with ≈62% of total calories being consumed prior to kick-off. Mean pre-game meal composition for all players was 1.4 ± 0.5 g·kg−1 carbohydrate, 0.8 ± 0.2 g·kg−1 protein, and 0.5 ± 0.2 g·kg−1 fat. Players fell short of daily sports nutrition guidelines for carbohydrate and appeared to “eat to intensity” by increasing or decreasing energy and carbohydrate intake based on the training load. Despite recommendations and continued education, many rugby players select what would be considered a “lower” carbohydrate intake. Although these intakes appear adequate to be a professional RU player, further research is required to determine optimal dietary intakes.


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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health






(p. 5398-5398)



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