How can you adapt your diet for playing basketball?


Basketball is a sport that requires a lot of energy all year round. Eating well is essential for your health, fitness and performance. The quality of your training and competitions depends on the work you put into basketball, but it also depends on your diet.

Energy requirements for a basketball player

The body needs energy to function daily and to play basketball. The energy needs for a basketball player are therefore calculated by adding the energy expended for daily activities and the energy expended for trainings and competitions.

Energy needs for training

During training sessions, energy requirements vary depending on intensity, frequency and the duration of the sessions. The workload varies from player to player. The majority of players in a team have matches every week, in addition to training sessions almost every day. It is therefore important to have the right energy intake to meet the requirements of this sport.

On average, energy expenditure is approximately 600 kcal/hour for a player weighing 80 kg.

Energy intake for a good match

Basketball is a high-intensity sport that demands constant physical effort by alternating between sprinting and short, abrupt turns and stops. Therefore, energy requirements are high and vary depending on the players and their physical abilities and their technical role within the team.

On average, energy expenditure during a match is 600 kcal, but remember that this value can vary considerably depending on the individual.

A balanced diet and performance in basketball

A balanced diet has a direct impact on training and competitions. It helps support the training load while limiting the risk of illness and injury. A balanced diet offers numerous advantages for basketball players; it helps to:

  • Optimise training,
  • Improve recovery from training and competitions,
  • Maintain a steady weight,
  • Reduce the risks of injury and illness,
  • Ensure good match preparation,
  • Achieve good performance.

In order to guarantee a balanced diet, you must eat:

  • Starchy foods with each meal to replenish your energy,
  • Meat or fish or eggs, once or twice a day,
  • Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to provide vitamins, fibre and water,
  • Three dairy products a day to provide protein and calcium,
  • A limited amount of fatty food to provide lipids and vitamins,
  • A limited amount of sugary food to please your taste buds,
  • As much water as you want.

Hydration and performance

Remember that hydration plays an essential role in performance. You need to drink before, during and after each training session and competition. This is especially important because gymnasiums often get very hot, which results in a large amount of sweat loss.

Drinking water and isotonic sports drinks helps prevent dehydration during training sessions and matches. Don't forget that dehydration is a basketball player's worst enemy.

 The best time to hydrate yourself and replenish your energy are during warm-ups, quarter and half-time.

During training sessions, you need to schedule drink breaks.

Drinking isotonic sports drinks satisfies hydration and carbohydrate needs for most matches and training sessions.

During quarter and half-time, counterbalancing energy loss enables the player to maintain the same level of performance for each quarter.


Recovery after a training session is already part of preparing for the next session. Replenishing your water, sugar and electrolyte reserves, which are considerably reduced during training sessions, is essential for a successful performance. This phase begins as soon as the training session is over. The objective is to take in water, carbohydrates, electrolytes and proteins as quickly as possible. There are several ways to do this: The recovery drink is ideal and practical because it provides everything in the correct proportions. This drink can be replaced by an isotonic sports drink and a protein bar. 

Marie Fauchille
Dietician | Nutritionist
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4.36 / 5 122 ratings

    Eating properly before and during exercise is all very well, but correctly managing your recovery is even better!
    Often ignored, the recovery stage in fact plays an essential role in rehydrating, restocking your energy reserves and muscle recovery. It also aims to get rid of lactic acid.