For the last six months, I have worked as a nutritionist for a professional tennis player. In order to help him recover and perform the next day, I had two main areas of focus: reduce inflammation and replenish glycogen stores.
Tennis players can accomplish these two goals by eating meals rich in protein with complex carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes or sweet potatoes. These foods help restore glycogen levels while keeping inflammation low.
The first adjustment we made was to remove inflammatory foods, such as whole wheat, beans, gluten and fast food. They have an inflammatory effect on the body because they take longer to digest. Consuming them post-workout would replenish his energy but at too steep a cost in inflammation.
The diet we created to maximize his tennis performance was similar to this:
Breakfast: Toast, fresh fruit and a cup of coffee
Lunch: Chicken breast (white meat), salad and half a baked potato
Dinner: protein of choice, full baked potato or sweet potato, and chicken salad or gluten-free pasta
The results: not only did he get leaner without losing weight, his recovery time was significantly reduced. Within a matter of weeks, he reported no bloating, less soreness and improved endurance throughout the day. He also reported feeling more energy and mentally sharper than he had previously felt.