Josh Lewsey

You'll have heard it time and again, but it won't stop us from repeating it – nutrition is everything, and this goes double when we're talking about nutrition for rugby players who have to maintain muscle, size, strength, stamina and agility.

"These are big guys, and they like their food – and a lot of it," says rugby world cup winner Josh Lewsey. "But as a rugby player it's important to know when and what to eat to ensure we're able to maintain our size and fitness.

"Of course the specifics of each player's nutrition will differ depending on their position, but these five tips are the ones I've always abided by, and they'd help anyone playing rugby from the park to the pros."

1. "A lion doesn't hunt on a full stomach – so try to make sure that going into the game or a training session, you haven’t over eaten. There are few things worse than taking to the field with food and liquid swimming around in your stomach." 

2. "Try to balance each meal with the macronutrients of carbs, protein and fat. Fats are often misconceived but they're essential in maintaining a healthy balanced diet. Opt for healthy fats found in avocados, eggs and nuts. 

3. "Breakfast is essential! Skipping breakfast results in a lower blood sugar level in the body, which results in hunger and compensatory eating. Some protein and fat at breakfast time will also help regulate the blood sugar."

 4. "Aim for continuity – take your supplements on rest days as well as training days. The rest period is when your body recovers and supplements can help with this process."  

5. "Make it your goal to avoid saturated and trans fats and whenever possible try to vary the protein intake so instead of just lean meats try cold water fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines."

Josh Lewsey is a MaxiNutrition ambassador – MaxiNutrition is the #1 expert recommended sports protein brand, with a strong heritage in Rugby.