Wholewheat base, mozzarella, beef
Start with a thin, wholewheat crust for a slow release of energy through the day. You can have your tomato sauce – a good source of vitamin C – but the cheese is key: use full-fat buffalo mozzarella because fat is useful for the production of different hormones which boost muscle strength. It is also a decent source of branch-chain amino acids which stimulate the recovery of muscle protein. It’ll taste better, too. Beef is a good source of protein and contains creatine, increasing strength endurance so you stay stronger for longer. Unless you’re cutting the beef very fine, it’s important to pre-cook it before putting it on your pizza.
The endurance supreme
Asparagus, broccoli, sardines
Again, go for the thin, wholewheat crust with tomato sauce. But this time, use a combination of fat-free mozzarella and medium-fat cheese, such as Leerdammer – you need some fat for fuel, but you don’t want to feel heavy. B-vitamins are important when building endurance as they aid energy release from proteins and carbohydrates, so top the pizza with asparagus, broccoli and sardines (or salmon). Liver is the best source of vitamin B, but who wants that on a pizza?
More after the break
White flour base, BBQ sauce, chicken, red onion
One for straight after a game. This pizza base can be made using white flour – we want to get carbs lost during the match back in the body. Replace tomato sauce with barbecue; it has antioxidants and contains sodium and other minerals. Fat-free or low-fat mozzarella is a must: fat slows down the movement of food through the gut. Top it off with lean chicken breast (pre-cooked) for protein. Add red onions for their antioxidant quercetin, which reduces the free-radicals that slow muscle recovery.
*With all these pizzas, put a little olive oil on the base and precook it before adding the sauce and toppings.