Nutrition for professional Table Tennis Players

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We all want to be in our best shape, right?

While boys enjoy working out at the gym to achieve six-packs, girls may put themselves in rigorous dieting schemes, remaining hopeful that they will shed more than a few pounds to look skinnier in front of their crush? For whatever methods, the final result they all set their mind on is a beefy, strong-built body structure.

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And this is what most elite table tennis players are yearning for, not because they want to attract their sweethearts, but to reign supreme in their field of table tennis.

Given that nutrition is the key to a healthy body, you cannot miss our suggestions on nutrition for professional table tennis players.

Indispensable components of ping pong players’ nutrition plan

Carbohydrate

Our body is like living machinery. It consists of a network of engines that are always in need of fuel to run smoothly. But what fuels? It’s time for a quick guess!

You’re right. One of the major fuels that give plenty of power to boost up the internal engines is carb. Carb is broken down into three sub-categories: starches, fiber, and sugars. These are the main constituents of such foods as grains, legumes, potatoes, rice, cereal, etc. Super carb-rich sources are fruit, low-fat dairy products.

Also, sugar is essential to the overall well-being of professional table tennis players because it is more of simple carbohydrates than the toxic, unhealthy food to avoid, as some may assume.

But this is not just any sugar, and definitely note what you find in cordials, soft drinks, candies, and cakes. By sugar, we mean natural sugars – those existing in vegetables, fruit, honey, etc.

How much carbohydrate will a table tennis player need?

The amount of carb you need might depend on your body weight. A professional table tennis player needs around 7 to 8 grams of carb per kilo of body mass to store enough energy.

However, when the schedule is filled with stressful practices and training, the amount of carbs needed per day can vary. But be cautious not to consume more than 13 grams of carb per kilo a day. That’s because overconsumption can lead to diabetes and unfit body posture. Ping pong players should always be in good shape, right?

Protein

Protein does wonder for the rejuvenation of muscles and repair of body tissues. Unless you power yourself with enough carb proportion, the protein will come into play to substitute the lack of energy induced by carb deficiencies. However, it cannot “burn candles at both ends,” which means there will be no protein left to cater for the repair of bones and muscles.

Protein exists in almost all the diets that contain carb, such as bread, rice, cereal, pasta. Besides, it is exclusively found in poultry and meat. So ideally, try some mix and match between different dishes to gather up the vital protein and also carbohydrate.

How much protein will a table tennis player need?

Be mindful of the balance between protein and carb in a diet. It’s not wholesome to either have too low carb consumption or take in too much protein. So when ping pong athletes are concerned, the intake of protein is way more important because their body is prone to injuries and fatigue, calling for the help of protein with superb healing power.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to eat protein in a more substantial proportion. Experts say carb may account for over 60% of the energy intake, while protein takes up 15% only. Thus, 2 grams of it per kilo every day will do.

Fat

We think it’s apt to address the term “fat” a little bit as the sound of it might somewhat plant confusion in one’s head. People mistake fat for a destructor of a toned body. That might be possible, but we are not referring to that kind of fat here. In fact, what we are recommending for your daily diet is a dietary component with marvelous functions.

Fat reduces the risks of catching a cold and facilitates the flow of essential vitamins and other fibers within your body. In terms of energy provision, protein and carb are no match to fat. This fuel doubles the value of the energy you may receive from its food.
Nevertheless, never take optimal energy intake as an excuse for an “overdose” of fat since the energy can derive equally from these three fuels mentioned, not from fat alone. Too much of it leads to severe repercussions: weight gain, cardiovascular disease.

How much fat will a table tennis player need?

Let’s say one gram of fat per kilo per day is healthy and balanced enough for a peak physical condition when competing in ping pong matches

Caution

Even though saturated fat is a relation in the “fat” family, it is what you had better say “no” to. This type of fat comes from animal-related sources of food. It raises cholesterol levels, which is the contributing factor to belated signs of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, you should:

  • Abstain from red meat. If you have to eat it, trim all the fat right in the food preparation process
  • Avoid full-fat dairy products. The next time you are at the supermarket, opt for low-fat yogurt and milk.
  • Cut back on junk food, avoid going out for snacks at night.

Hold on! Trans fat is another thing you should steer clear of. But it is no easy stuff to do considering trans fat is naturally found in small amounts in foods. Its adverse effects are similar to those of saturated fat. Here is what you can do to avoid it

  • Cook your meals with vegetable oils, olive oils
  • Change your cooking methods: boil eggs instead of frying them.

Water

You may know that keeping your body well hydrated is of foremost importance, especially for professional table tennis players to make up for sweat losses.

It’s important to note that your urine’s color will tell if you have enough fluid in your body. Light-yellow is an indicator of a well-hydrated body while light brown carries a sign of a health condition. Thus, you can change the urine’s pigment by adjusting your intake of water so that there is no cause for concern.

How much water will a professional ping pong player need?

Generally, humans need 2 liters of fluid a day. But for high-intensity practicing players, drinking from 2.5 to 3 liters is better as you need to fill your system with enough fluid between games.

Food that helps build muscle mass

Why is it necessary? Ask a seasoned ping pong player what they need muscles for, and you will get the answer. High-intensity strokes, backhand shots, etc. all need robust muscles to be delivered accurately and quickly.

There are tons of ways in which you can build lean muscle, such as hitting the gym, pumping the iron, etc. But you may never think food can also help, right?

The key point is building muscle means repairing the tissues worn out by rigorous training and developing new ones. So you might need food rich in protein and healthy fats.

That said, it’s necessary that you create your own menu which is both efficient and tasty. Have a look at our suggested menu to draw out some fancy ideas for your own.

  • Breakfast smoothie mixed with low-fat milk, banana yogurt, chia seeds, honey.
  • Quinoa salad
  • Turkey burgers with beetroot relish
  • Cranberry super-shake
  • Mocha milkshake

Remember that you can adjust the amount of fat in the food content to make it neutral and healthier.

Food that helps soothe your digestive system.

The mere thought of hearing your belly rumbling while you’re in high spirits of the game is very off-putting. Hands down, digestive problems will compromise the quality of your match. If your stomach hurts out of nowhere and you flinch from the crippling pain, you will miss the chance of victory in a split second.

That’s why you may want to ensure the food you eat can provide calories while causing no digestive issues. The tip is simple: avoid foods high in fat, and just like that, avoid beans, underdone steak, and different kinds of seeds before the match.

Food that foster brain powers

Having a quick, mighty brain can bolster your chances of winning the table tennis game. But no matter how “capable” your mind can be, it can get tired quickly. Thus, it’s well-advised to give it a boost before the game starts. In order to do so, incorporate these tricks into your diet, and you will see the wonders.

  • Eat antioxidant fruits: wild blueberries, gala apples, black plums, strawberries, grapes.
  • Use spices and herbs in cooking
  • Use olive oil and coconut oil instead of fatty animal oil or butter

Ending line,

After glancing through this post, you may already be enlightened on different components that constitute an expert-caliber diet scheme.

People often suppose that nutrition for professional table tennis players must be very dull or lacking in delightful flavor.
But that’s only half of the real truth. You can treat yourself to appetizing flavors in a myriad of dishes, and stay slim, fit at the same time if you know the rules of the “nutrition” game.

Depending on your purpose, that’s building stronger muscles or having brain boosters; you will be able to design your menu and diversify it each day with our suggestions above.

Download documents

USA Table Tennis Australian Institute for Sport Nutrition

Brixton Johansson