Rugby is a demanding sport that requires high levels of strength, power, and endurance. To perform at their best, rugby players need to maintain a healthy diet and supplement it with the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. In this blog, we will discuss the 8 best supplements for rugby and how they can improve performance on the field.
Creatine is one of the most popular supplements for athletes, and rugby players are no exception. Creatine is a natural compound that is found in muscle cells, and it helps to improve strength, power, and muscle mass. It also aids in muscle recovery, which is essential for rugby players who engage in intense physical activity. Rugby players should consume 0.1 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight per day, or approximately 5-10 grams per day.
Many professional rugby players use creatine supplements to improve their performance on the field. For example, South African rugby player Schalk Burger credits creatine with helping him to maintain his energy levels during games.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps to reduce fatigue and increase endurance. It works by increasing the levels of carnosine in the muscles, which helps to buffer lactic acid and delay fatigue. This supplement is especially useful for rugby players who engage in high-intensity activities for extended periods. Rugby players should consume 3.2-6.4 grams of beta-alanine per day, divided into two to three servings.
One rugby player who swears by beta-alanine is Welsh player George North. He has said that it helps him to maintain his strength and power during games.
3. Whey Protein
Whey protein is a popular supplement for athletes, and it is especially useful for rugby players who need to maintain their muscle mass. Whey protein is a fast-digesting protein that is quickly absorbed by the body, making it ideal for post-workout recovery.
Many professional rugby players use whey protein supplements to help them recover after intense training sessions. For example, English rugby player Joe Marler has said that whey protein is an essential part of his recovery routine.
The amount of whey protein that rugby players should take depends on several factors, including their body weight, training volume, and overall nutrition goals. However, a general guideline is to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day for athletes engaging in intense training.
For rugby players, it is recommended to consume whey protein supplements immediately after a workout or game to aid in recovery and muscle repair. A typical serving of whey protein powder is around 20-30 grams, which can be mixed with water or milk.
It is important to note that while protein supplements can be beneficial, they should not be relied on as the sole source of protein in the diet. It is recommended to also consume protein from whole food sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and plant-based sources such as beans, lentils, and nuts.
Glutamine is an amino acid that is essential for muscle recovery and immune system function. It helps to reduce muscle breakdown and improve recovery time after intense physical activity. Rugby players should consume 10-20 grams of glutamine per day, divided into two to three servings.
Many professional rugby players use glutamine supplements to help them recover after games and training sessions. For example, Australian rugby player David Pocock has said that glutamine is one of the supplements that he uses to aid his recovery.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is important for bone health and immune system function. It also plays a role in muscle function and athletic performance.
Many rugby players are deficient in vitamin D, especially during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited. Supplementing with vitamin D can help to improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury. Scottish rugby player Stuart Hogg has said that vitamin D is one of the supplements that he takes regularly.
The amount of vitamin D that rugby players should take depends on several factors, including their age, weight, training volume, and overall health. However, a general guideline is to aim for a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) of at least 30 ng/mL, which can be achieved through supplementation and sunlight exposure.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults is 600-800 IU (International Units), but for athletes, higher doses may be needed. Some experts recommend that athletes, including rugby players, take 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, especially during the winter months when sunlight exposure is limited.
It is important to note that while vitamin D supplements can be beneficial, it is also possible to get vitamin D from dietary sources, including fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks. Rugby players should aim to consume a balanced diet that includes sources of vitamin D and discuss their specific needs with a healthcare professional or sports nutritionist. Additionally, it is important to regularly monitor vitamin D levels to ensure that they remain within a healthy range.
6. Fish Oil
Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and brain function. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after physical activity.
The amount of fish oil that rugby players should take depends on several factors, including their body weight, training volume, and overall nutrition goals. However, a general guideline is to consume 1-2 grams of EPA and DHA (the two main omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) per day.
Many professional rugby players use fish oil supplements to aid in recovery after games and training sessions. For example, Irish rugby player Sean O’Brien has said that fish oil is one of the supplements that he takes regularly.
7. B Vitamins
B vitamins are essential for energy metabolism and nerve function. They also play a role in the production of red blood cells, which are important for oxygen transport to the muscles.
Many professional rugby players take B vitamin supplements to maintain their energy levels during games and training sessions. For example, Welsh rugby player Sam Warburton has said that he takes B vitamin supplements to help him maintain his energy levels during games.
For rugby players, magnesium can provide several benefits, including improving muscle function, reducing muscle cramps, and enhancing recovery. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, energy production, and protein synthesis. Rugby players who engage in high-intensity training and competition may experience muscle cramps and fatigue, and magnesium can help improve muscle function and reduce the risk of cramps.
In addition, magnesium can also enhance recovery by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, which can occur during intense training. Rugby players who supplement with magnesium may experience improved muscle recovery and reduced soreness following workouts and games.
It is important to note that while magnesium supplements can be beneficial, it is also possible to get magnesium from dietary sources, including nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. Rugby players should aim to consume a balanced diet that includes sources of magnesium and discuss their specific needs with a healthcare professional or sports nutritionist. Additionally, it is important to choose a high-quality magnesium supplement that is easily absorbed by the body.
The amount of magnesium that rugby players should take depends on several factors, including their body weight, training volume, and overall nutrition goals. However, a general guideline is to consume 400-420 mg of magnesium per day for adult males and 310-320 mg per day for adult females.
In conclusion, rugby players can benefit from using supplements to support their athletic performance, recovery, and overall health. The ten best supplements for rugby players are whey protein, BCAAs, beta-alanine, fish oil, creatine, glutamine, vitamin D, magnesium, and probiotics.
Whey protein can help with muscle growth and recovery, while glutamine can reduce muscle breakdown during exercise. Fish oil can reduce inflammation and support heart health, while creatine can improve muscle strength, power, and endurance. Vitamin D and magnesium can help with bone health, muscle function, and overall performance. Probiotics can improve gut health and support the immune system.
It is important to note that supplements should not be used as a replacement for a balanced and nutritious diet, and rugby players should consult with a healthcare professional or sports nutritionist before taking any supplements. Additionally, supplements should be used in combination with a well-rounded training program and proper rest and recovery.
By incorporating these supplements into their nutrition plan, rugby players can optimize their performance and support their overall health and well-being on and off the field.