common people, you have uncommon goals and dreams that require 100% of your
effort, determination, and discipline. You are beginning to understand how
important this is in your physical conditioning, but you must also understand
that these same principles apply to your eating habits. Nutrition is the one
component of an athletic program where most people are misinformed or
misunderstood. Everywhere you turn, you hear or read about someone who had
gained or lost 20 pounds in one week. This type of information is misleading
and dangerous. As athletes, you must know facts about diet and dietary habits,
in order to perform at your optimum level.
is a game of strength, speed and skill; all of which can be affected by what,
when and how much an athlete eats and drinks.
need to apply the same effort to proper fueling as they give during practices
and competition. Players sometimes neglect nutrition, which can result in poor
nutrition is extremely important for football players. Because football
requires short bursts of energy, eating enough carbohydrates is critical. As an
athlete, you are always looking for the edge over your opponent. Nutrition is
that edge. It does not only impact strength, speed and stamina, but recovery as
well. You, as athletes, are responsible for taking control. You must provide
your body with optimal body fueling. A player who comes to practice without
having eaten breakfast or lunch, or skimps on fluid intake during hot summer
practices, is not going to reach his full potential – which ultimately affects
the performance of the team as a whole.
The primary goal for providing athletes with a pre-game meal is to fuel the body for competition. The best strategy is to choose lower-fat foods. Fats take longer to digest, so high-fat meals can leave the athlete with a full, heavy stomach and not enough energy to perform at his best. When planning a pre-game meal early in the day try to avoid foods such as, fried meats, fried potatoes, bacon, and sausage. Instead, choose foods that favor leaner protein and carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, and toast. For afternoon/evening games choose grilled, baked, or broiled meats, tomato instead of cream sauce, low-fat milk, and baked or broiled, instead of fried, potatoes.
Additional food options for pre-game meals include:
Before you sit down for a meal, you should begin by replenishing your fluids and carbohydrates immediately following the game/lifting … sports drinks, pretzels, sports bars (containing the proper nutritional ratio), or fruit. This is usually the hungriest time for the players, some good choices include:
When it comes to weight loss or weight gain, you must do it in small increments. In order to add Lean Muscle Mass and discard Fat Mass you must combine a proper nutritional plan and strength training program. By adding or subtracting the extra 500 to 1000 calories you are allowing your body to change its composition.
For optimal recovery after competition/practice or lifting, you need to consume a protein-carbohydrate mix. The snack should contain 6 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates. Suggestions include peanut butter crackers, trail mix, yogurt with cereal, a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter, or a sports bar containing the right proportion. This snack should be consumed within 30 minutes after competition, practice or lifting for optimal benefit.
Unlike professional football players who practice during the day, younger athletes don't take the field or hit the gym until after school. Since bodies don't run well on empty, eating every 3 to 4 hours is necessary to properly fuel both the body and mind. Encourage your athletes to:
Athlete Recommended Snacks (pre-game and post-game)
The food and beverages an athlete consumes before and after competition and practice is just as important as what is consumed during an event.
Items NOT APPROPRIATE before, during or after athletic competition:
Football is a stop-and-go sport with short burst of intense effort, followed by rest. Therefore, the primary fuel for football is carbohydrates. An ideal diet for football players requires 55 to 60 percent of their daily caloric intake to come from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein and 30 percent from fat. Simply stated, your diet should be 2/3 carbohydrates and 1/3 protein, with an emphasis on moderate fat. Carbohydrates-containing foods with lower fat should be emphasized example: bagels over doughnuts, mashed potatoes over fries, grilled chicken over fried, frozen yogurt over ice cream.
Upping the amount of carbohydrates in your diet will provide you with more available energy during practice and games. Less fried foods often decrease the chance of an upset stomach, which may also boost performance.
During Two-a-days/Pre-season, carbohydrates must be the main fuel source. Players will not recover in time for the next practice unless carbohydrate intakes are adequate. Watch your protein intake. While protein is needed in an athlete’s diet to build and maintain muscle mass, excess protein consumption will be stored as fat and may dehydrate the body. For example, turkey and cheese roll-ups, fruit, vegetables, Gatorade bars etc, are good food choices.