Whether you play in national tournaments or “just” three or four hours a day, pickleball nutrition and hydration is vital. Pickleball can be a demanding sport. I would compare it to running a marathon. While I don’t think everyone needs to buy tons of supplements they will never use, many have asked me to share what I use to stay strong and energized.
Hammer Nutrition: Protein Powder
I was introduced to Hammer Nutrition by two folks I met playing pickleball. When not playing pickleball, one was an ironman triathlete and the other a marathon canoe competitor. (You really do meet the most interesting people on a pickleball court….)
I start my day with whey protein powder. Protein is essential to muscle development and maintenance, and I often don’t have the time to make a big protein rich breakfast. In my opinion, a good protein powder is pretty simple. If you read the labels of many other brands, you will find they add a lot of things I just don’t think are necessary.
Because I am so active, I am always trying to maintain or gain weight…but I want to do this in a way that supports my body. Using the whey protein powder provides my muscles the support they need.
I also use a product called Recoverite. Though this is also a protein powder it is specifically geared at helping your body recover after exercise, by including supplements aimed at holding the protein in your body after activity. I drink this throughout the day when I am on the court a lot. I love this product and I find it tastier than my regular protein so I tend to drink it more:)
Tournament Days: Hydration & Gels
During tournaments, we all need to hydrate properly. During the US Open, we were all sweating so much, it was difficult to consume the fluids we needed. I am constantly drinking water and sports drinks, like Gatorade. It is really important that you drink both! Water alone may actually flush the electrolytes out of your body, causing cramps or even worse symptoms. Since I find my stomach can get upset if I drink too much, I take Endurolytes. Like salt tablets, you can find in running or biking shops, these are like hydrating in pill form and can be easier on your stomach. I take a few every couple of hours on tournament day because the last thing I want is to become dehydrated.
You may see players with gummies, chew or gels on the court. I prefer chocolate Hammer gels. These supply the carbohydrates you need during competition and a little sugar to give you enough energy during play. These are great little items to give me the calories I need because I often struggle to eat while playing.
Not Just Tournament Days
When I am teaching I can spend some pretty long days on the court. Recently I arrived to start a clinic at 8 am and finished the last private lesson after 9 pm. It is important for me to keep fueled and hydrated throughout the day. If I don’t I lose focus and energy.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming walking into a supplement store. There are so many products, and frankly, some are not very good quality. Quality is so important when you are taking supplements…because you could be just wasting your money. You may not need to worry about gaining weight, or put in 8+ hour days on the court. However, if you feel you need some added support consider experimenting a bit. The more you pay attention to your body, the better your body will treat you.
Please Note: As a sponsored athlete I can pass along savings on Hammer Nutrition products. Just use referral code 270890 to receive a 15% discount when you order from their website.