Ready for expert advice?

If you want to be ready to compete, of course you need talent and hunger, but that’s not all. It takes the right training, the right diet and the right recovery procedures to prepare and maintain your body for games, and these are all things you need to learn from the experts.

The good news is you’ll find that here:  advice on nutrition, training and recovery from our three authorities on the subjects – Enda King, Jackie Tyrell and Dr Sharon Madigan.

Dr Sharon Madigan

BSc. MSc. PhD. Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences

Head of Nutrition

The Irish Institute for Sport

Nutrition: Tips for Exercise and Sport

No matter what you get up to on a daily basis, in order to Be Ready you have to fuel yourself with the right nutrients. Good nutrition is essential to help you get the most out of your exercise or training sessions.

Fuels for Exercise

Carbohydrate and fat are the two main fuels for exercising muscles. Carbohydrate is stored in the body as glycogen, which is broken down into glucose during exercise to supply the working muscles with energy. Small amounts of fat in your diet are necessary; however, a high fat intake is generally not recommended for active people, as it increases the risk of increased body fat.

Tip: Base every meal around a carbohydrate-rich food, such as bread, breakfast cereal, potatoes, rice or pasta.

Protein for Muscles

Protein is necessary for growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissue. Muscle proteins are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. Therefore, we should ensure that there is a balance between protein intake and muscle breakdown. This balance is maintained by consuming protein-containing foods such as milk, cheese, meat and nuts.

Tip: Ensuring adequate and consistent protein intake over the whole day will ensure that protein is available when the muscles need it.

Fluids: Keep your Cool

During exercise, fluid loss from sweating can be very high, particularly in warm weather.

Tip: Drink 300-600ml in the 15 minutes prior to exercise. During exercise, the general recommendation is to drink 150-200ml every 10-15 minutes. After exercise, replace all fluid lost during your session.

Vitamins and Minerals

Active people need to make sure they consume adequate vitamins and minerals to meet the demands of exercise. These do not provide energy, but are needed in very small amounts to enable the body to function efficiently and effectively.

Tip: At least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day will help ensure that your vitamin and mineral needs are met.

Source – INDI – Food for Sport

Jackie Tyrell

Kilkenny hurler with 8 All-Ireland winner's medals for club and county

Training: getting the work/play balance right

Hurling is getting to be a young man’s game, with teams training at 6am and the age profile of players drastically reducing. So it can be quite difficult to combine a full-time job with training intensely at the top level.

You have to be very professional and live and breathe it every day. You have to constantly think: ‘Am I doing anything that will sacrifice my performance later on?’, be that in training, or when it comes to your diet.

It can be done, but you need these three mental factors in place:

  • Discipline
  • Dedication
  • Time planning (daily and weekly)

Of course, to do all this, you have to sacrifice some personal things in your life, but that’s just part of playing at the top level.

I work as a Sales Rep for Glanbia, so I spend most of my time driving or on my feet during the day, from eight in the morning to half five. To stay strict on my diet and eat healthy while I’m on the road, I plan my day and bring the right food with me, and from seven to half eight each evening, I follow this training routine:

Monday: Gym session (weights/core work)
Tuesday: Field session (group/team session)
Wednesday: Recovery (pool, stretching, foam rollers and rehab)
Thursday: Gym session (weights/core work)
Friday: Field session (group/team session)
Saturday: Ball Alley & swim
Sunday: Game Day

Enda King

BSc. MSc. Manip Ther, C.S.C.S. M.I.S.C.P.

Head of Performance

Rehabilitation, Sports Surgery Clinic Dublin

Recovery: 5 ways to keep yourself ready

Here are my recovery tips for all stages of training, whatever level you’re playing at.

  1. Warm up: Essential in preparing your body for exercise. Your warm up should increase heart rate gradually, involve large body movements and be specific to the sport you’re about to play.
  2. Gradual increase in training load: It’s important for injury prevention and recovery that your training load is increased gradually rather than in large peaks and troughs, which can lead to excessive soreness and injury.
  3. Cool down: Gradually lower your heart rate and allow for lactic acid to be flushed from the system. Your cool-down should involve static stretches to aid recovery.
  4. Recovery walks: On days between training sessions, it’s important do some gentle exercise and stretching to aid recovery and prepare yourself for the next training session. This can be simple things, like going for a walk or a light swim.
  5. Hydration/Nutrition/Sleep: Preparation for your next training session begins as soon as the previous one has ended, so getting enough hydration, nutrition and sleep is hugely important in helping boost your body’s ability to recover.