Kabaddi is one of the toughest sports in the world. Kabaddi tests the physical and mental fitness of the player. In such a situation, players must take special care of their fitness and nutrition.
Kabaddi is considered a traditional sport and most of the players come from humble backgrounds. Therefore, their eating habits are culturally influenced. It is also widely believed that since they leave it n the carpet, the players can be free to eat whatever they want because they can make it up.
However, to benefit from hard training and perform at their peak, they need to eat in a structured way. This professionalism and discipline when it comes to eating are still lacking.
There have been cases where players have reported to their teams’ PKL camp with a good 8-10 kg overweight and a higher body fat percentage. So instead of preparing them for competition, coaches have to spend a lot of time training them to reach the entry-level. Unfortunately, they have little time for this.
In the team selection timeline, to meet the training level, they increase the frequency of training, which reduces recovery time, overtraining, and starving themselves. This can get them to the desired weight, but greatly increases the risk of injury. A player’s diet begins in the offseason. You can’t eat as you do on training days.
Kabaddi players practice
These exercises are very strenuous. There is a trend among players to hold a bucket during practice. Each player comes in a moment and squeezes their sweat into a bucket. At the end of the session, the bucket is full of sweat.
Needless to say, their nutritional needs are also very different from to perform such energy-intensive activities. The calorie requirement of a kabaddi player can go up to 8000 calories based on their activity level. Such high-calorie diets must be planned in a very structured way. For example, if a Kabaddi player eats unhealthy fat, it can slow down his movements during practice/matches.
Thus, every Kabaddi player should work closely with their nutritionist to create a nutrition plan tailored to their specific needs and goals.
Kabaddi players rely on speed, agility, strength, and quick thinking. Their work requires a lot of energy. Carbohydrate consumption is important to restore muscle glycogen stores. Kabaddi is also a sport that tests the mental strength of the players. Adding foods that help players stay calm and focused also helps.
When waking up, the player can enjoy tomato juice and bananas. The player can take nutritional supplements, but only under the guidance of a nutritionist. Breakfast options include Chapati/Paratha, Dal/Masoor dal/Moong dal/Dal Makhni, Curd, Rajma, Eggs, Chana, Fruits, and a Glass of Milk.
There is a pause of several hours before the player can train. It’s always a good idea to bring food/drinks with you so you can give your body the right nutrients while exercising. Players can carry sports drinks, bananas, dates, dried apricots, and coconut water.
Coconut water is now easily available in the market and I am not talking about packaged bottles. Natural coconut water is good for athletes; they can carry it in their water bottles to make logistics easier.
Working Diet of Kabaddi Players
After training, players can take state, apples, figs, and boiled eggs. Some players may genetically require more recovery. If you feel that you are not recovering well, contact a nutritionist for a personalized plan.
For lunch, players prefer to eat rice because it is easy to digest and does not make them sluggish for evening training. Green leafy vegetables, potato, beans, chicken/mutton, dal, paneer, salad, curd.
Snack options include nuts, dry fruits, mixed berries, dry fruit laddu, fruits like apples, oranges, and protein bars.
For a Kabaddi player, dinner should be light and contain good carbohydrates. Dinner is rice, potato, salad, dal, chapati, curd, and meat.
Kabaddi players should avoid eating fast food and sweets. With easy access to the Internet and many restaurants, players may be tempted to eat out. It certainly helps the restaurants do well, but the same cannot be said for the players.
Players can take turmeric milk, walnuts, and Rasgulla before going to bed. The sugar syrup in the rasgulla must be squeezed out.
Kabaddi players are famous for consuming large amounts of ghee. Their physical effort requires more calories from them, but even the wrong amount of good food is harmful.
Food Supplements in Kabaddi Player’s Diet
Food supplements are part of an athlete’s diet. Their purpose is either to compensate for existing nutritional deficiencies or to satisfy caloric needs. Some supplements give players an instant boost of energy. But supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a nutritionist.
The dosage and timing of supplements are very important. The wrong timing of the supplement complicates the athlete’s recovery cycle, and the wrong dose can damage the body’s kidney and liver function.
No one size fits all. In Kabaddi, every player: Raider, Defender and Allrounder have their role and their requirements are different. Some need more skill, while others need more strength. Their genetics and metabolism are different. What is good for one may be poison for another.