Photo: Martin Sidorjak
As part of a six-part content series presented by Sobeys, we will share the expertise of multiple Tennis Canada spokespeople including our nutritionist Ariane Lavigne, coaches, advisors as well as players and their parents when it comes to food, family, and sport. In this third article, members of the Canadian Billie Jean King Cup team shared their nutritional routines while in-tournament and the role that food plays in their everyday lives.
Team Canada presented by Sobeys made history last month after capturing their first Billie Jean King Cup title in Seville, Spain. It was a magical week for the underdog squad as they surprised the tennis world with an inspiring performance that won’t soon be forgotten.
It’s widely acknowledged that there’s plenty that goes into becoming a world champion, including many sacrifices and choices that go unnoticed. Of course, every athlete needs talent, hard work, discipline, and commitment to succeed, but perhaps one of the most underrated aspects of being a professional athlete is healthy nutrition. Before lifting the trophy in Seville, Spain, Eugenie Bouchard, Leylah Annie Fernandez, Rebecca Marino, and Marina Stakusic talked to us about the foods that keep them fueled while in competition.
“Before a match, I’ll make sure to have a balanced meal. I try to get my vegetables in there, some good carbohydrates because that provides good energy and protein to keep me satiated,” explained Marino. “You just have to make sure you time your meals right so that you’re not feeling too heavy when you go on court or too hungry. It’s about finding that balance.”
For her part, Fernandez likes to eat pasta with Bolognese sauce or club sandwiches before a match and always has clementines close by to snack on. Meanwhile, breakfast on match days for Bouchard usually consists of oatmeal, fruits, eggs, and turkey sausage while Stakusic opts for a lighter option like toast with peanut butter and jam. Post-match dinners are some combination of protein like steak, shrimp, or chicken, vegetables, and carbohydrates. Sobeys is a great resource for inspiration when it comes to Overnight Oats or Lasagna recipes with a twist.
Regardless of whether it’s tournament time, a training block, or a rest period back at home: being a tennis player is a full-time job which means that proper nutrition plays a vital role in their daily lives and it’s something they take great pride in. Food gives them the energy they need to keep up with their rigorous schedule and perform at their best. It also helps with recovery because their workday doesn’t end when they leave the courts. They need to make sure their bodies are ready to start their tennis routine over again.
“Nutrition is super important. I find I am quite in tune with my body and so I know what will and won’t make me feel good, and I know if I go and eat a bag of candy right now, in 30 minutes I am going to feel bad. Knowing that makes me not even crave the candy because of the consequences I feel after. So maybe I’m lucky in that way,” Bouchard said. “I really naturally avoid bad food, whether I am playing or not, it’s important not to have too much sugar and try to have more fruits and vegetables.”
Given that the topic of food is so often the centrepiece of everything we do to live a balanced lifestyle, prioritizing and promoting a healthy diet is just one more reason to take inspiration from our fully deserving World Champions who continue to give us reasons to follow their lead. Don’t forget to check out how Sobeys is serving up some healthy meals that are not only great to keep the body fueled, but also a perfect, lighter choice this holiday season.