Whether you’re a serious daily tennis player or just a weekend warrior, it is essential to fuel your body properly while on the court. Eating quality meals before and after sessions will help, but it is simply impossible to perform at the same level for more than an hour without replenishing nutrients while on the court. You should be eating something during both training and competition.
Energy bars are the most convenient snack to have handy on changeovers every time you are on the court. In my experience playing, I have won or lost matches simply because of what I put (or didn’t put) into my body. After all the training sessions and hard work, there is nothing more frustrating than losing a match because of something fully in my control. So what should you be looking for in an energy bar?
When choosing a bar, be picky. Most bars you will find on the shelves are unhealthy and have negative effects. These unhealthy bars will end up causing a crash instead of a pick-me-up. In my experience, bars with simple and whole ingredients work the best. My favorites have ingredients such as nuts or fruit, some sort of natural sweetener like honey, and some salt.
The most important thing to look for in an energy bar is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will give you quick access to healthy energy, which is perfect when you start to feel a bit sluggish.
What should you look for in your bars?
As we mentioned above, carbohydrates are the most important thing to look for in a bar. The proper balance of sugar and carbs will give you the boost you need without weighing you down.
Further, pay attention to the ingredients. It is always a good rule of thumb to keep your bars around 7 ingredients or less. This will help to ensure that the ingredients you’re consuming are purposeful. Food is most effective if when it comes from natural sources.
Where do carbs come from?
Carbohydrates are found naturally in nuts, oats, and fruits. Therefore, it makes sense that the bars recommended at the end of this article include these things as their base. Carbs are commonly thought to sit heavy in your stomach, but that isn’t true especially during workouts.
As a player with a high metabolism, I actually struggled to replenish my carbs quickly enough. I tend to feel heavy if I eat too much during matches, so I saw a nutritionist to discuss my options. The nutritionist helped me find bars with dried fruit and nuts as their base. The most important part is to find bars with carbs as the base. This ensures that everything you are consuming will be used by your body and there is no wasted space. These were easier to eat more of, so I was able to continuously eat them throughout matches without feeling heavy.
Everyone is Different
It is important to remember that everyone’s body is different. We all burn calories, carbs, fats, etc. in different ways, so nutrition is never one-size-fits-all. That being said, the best place to start is at the simplest forms of food. Processed food just complicates things, so when you’re trying to figure out what works for you, stick to the basics. The best energy bars that I have tried are recommended below.