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Kabaddi is one of the toughest sports in the world. Kabaddi tests a player’s physical as well as mental fitness. In such a situation, Kabaddi players have to take special care of their fitness and diet. Kabaddi is considered to be a traditional sport, and most players belong to humble backgrounds. Hence, their eating habits are culturally influenced. There is also a prevalent belief that since they slog it out on the mat, the players can have the right to eat whatever they want since they can compensate for it.
However, to leverage on the hard training sessions and to be able to perform at their peak players, need to eat structurally. That professionalism and discipline in eating is still lacking. There have been instances where players have reported for PKL camp for their respective teams being a good 8-10kgs overweight and with higher fat percentage. So instead of preparing them for the competition, coaches have to invest a significant time training them to get to the basic fitness levels. Unfortunately, they only have a short time to do so.
To meet the fitness benchmark for squad selection within the timeline, they increase the frequency of training sessions, thereby cutting down on the recovery time, over-train & starve themselves. This might get them to the desired weight, but it significantly increases the risk of injury. The player’s diet plan starts with the offseason. You can’t eat like your training days.
Kabaddi players train for anywhere between 4-5 hours a day. These practice sessions are very tiring. There is a trend among the players that when they practice, they keep a bucket. Every player comes in a little while and squeezes out his sweat in the bucket. By the time session ends, the bucket gets filled with sweat. Needless to say that their dietary needs will also be very different to perform such power-intensive activities.
- The calorie requirement of a Kabaddi player based on their activity levels can go up to 8,000 calories. High-calorie diets like this need to be planned very structurally. For instance, if a Kabaddi player eats fat which is not suitable for the health, it can slow down his/her movements during practice/matches.
- So every Kabaddi player should work closely with their dietitians to get themselves a nutrition plan which is customized to cater to their specific needs and goals.
- Kabaddi players rely on speed, agility, strength and quick thinking. They require high energy to perform. Carbohydrate intake is important to replenish muscle glycogen.
- Kabaddi is also a sport which tests players’ mental strength. Including foods which help players keep calm and focused are also be beneficial.
Diets to Follow
On waking up, a player can have tomato juice, banana. A player can take supplements but only under nutritionist guidance. Breakfast options include Chapati/Paratha, Dal/Masoor dal/Moong dal/Dal Makhni, Curd, Rajma, eggs, Chana, fruits and a glass of milk.
There will be a gap of a few hours before a player gets to practice. It is always a good idea to carry some food/drink with you, to be able to give the right body nutrients during training. Players can carry sports drink, banana, dates, dried apricots, coconut water.
Coconut water is now easily available in the market, and I am not talking about packed bottles. The natural coconut water is good for athletes; they can carry it in their water bottles for easier logistics.
Post Work Diet of Kabaddi Players
Post-workout players can take sattu, apples, figs, boiled eggs. Some players might genetically need more recovery time. If you feel that you are not able to recover well, get in touch with a nutritionist to work on a customized plan.
For lunch, players prefer to eat Rice as it gets easily digested and won’t make them sluggish for evening practice. Green leafy vegetables, potatoes, beans, chicken/mutton, dal, paneer, salad, curd.
Snack options include Nuts, Dry fruits, Trail mix, Dry fruits laddu, Fruits like apples, orange & Protein Bars.
For a Kabaddi player dinner should be light with good carbs option. Dinner options include rice, potatoes, salad, dal, chapati, curd & meat.
Kabaddi players should avoid eating fast foods & sweets. With easy access to internet and numbers of restaurants, players might be tempted to eat outside food. This for sure, will help restaurants to perform well, the same can’t be said for the players.
At bedtime, players can take Turmeric milk, walnuts & Rasgulla. The sugar syrup of Rasgulla should be squeezed out.
Kabaddi players are famous for eating Ghee in large quantities. Their physical exertion demands them to intake higher calories, but even good food in the wrong quantity is harmful.
Supplements in Kabaddi Player Diet
Supplements are part of athletes’ diet. They have a purpose of either to compensate for existing nutritional deficiencies or to meet calorie requirements. Some supplements give the players an instant energy boost. But supplements should only be taken under the guided supervision of a nutritionist. The dosage & timing of supplements is very crucial. The wrong timing of supplement hinders the athlete’s recovery cycle & the wrong dosage can harm the body’s kidney & liver function.
In Kabaddi each player: Raider, Defender and All rounder have a different role to play, and their requirements are different. Some need to be more agile, while others might need more strength. Their genetics and metabolism are different. What is good for one might be poison for another.
Customized nutrition plan based on your genetics, blood chemistry, body composition and physical activity levels will help you to perform at your peak by catering to your specific needs & goals. This expert article on Kabaddi player diet was brought to you by Qua Nutrition.
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