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Nutrition for Athletes

Nutrition for Athletes

Eating to Win a Section Five Championship
Brockport Blue Devils
1. Consume the appropriate number of calories each and every day!

  • GOAL: Maintain Muscle Mass and Avoid Starvation Mode.
  • Food should be eaten frequently and throughout the day.
  • Days that involve activity/workouts require additional calories.
  • Healing after strenuous workouts and injury require additional calories for your body to restore and repair itself.
  • Majority of calories should come from natural, unrefined sources. Translation: if it comes directly from the earth or is found in nature it is almost always better for you than an alternative choice. The less a food source is altered or changed the better it is for you.
  • Carbohydrates are the most important macronutrient when it comes to elite athletic functions and muscle building.
  • If your body does not have enough carbohydrates, it will use lean muscle tissue for energy. Therefore, your ability to get BIG and STRONG will be limited.
    • Carbohydrate Sources: Wheat or Plain Bagels, Wheat Bread, Whole Rye Bread, Shredded Wheat, Whole Wheat Rolls, Oatmeal (Oatmeal Raisin Cookies), Granola, Cheerios, Brown Rice, Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran Cereal, English Muffins, Vegetables, Fruits
  • Performance today can be affected from poor caloric intake from 2-3 days previous.
  • What happens when we don’t eat appropriately?
    • Lose lean muscle mass and increase fat tissue.

2. Eat three meals a day, and strive for five.

  • GOAL: Maintain or increase lean muscle mass.
  • Consume food in small quantities frequently throughout the day.
  • Eat Breakfast!
  • Eliminating breakfast affects not only your athletic ability but your academics as well.
  • With breakfast include water, a piece of fruit and a source of protein.
  • Three meals are a must with snacks making up the additional calories needed to perform optimally.
  • If you not eating at least three meals each day begin first by reaching this particular goal.
  • Multiple meals each day will increase your resting metabolism and increase fat burning throughout the day.
  • If you need to gain weight: EAT, EAT, and EAT!
  • Never allow more than 3 hours between meals, attempt to eat or snack every 2 hours.
  • Never leave home without food!

3. Post-workout nutrition is a must. Combine carbohydrate and protein sources. 

  • GOAL: Refuel cells to ensure success next workout. Provide nutrients needed for muscle repair and building.
  • Combine carbohydrate and protein sources in a ratio of 3:1 serving size. This is best achieved in the form of a liquid (like a shake). However, if you are unable to do so consume solid foods to achieve this ratio.
    • Examples include:
      • One to two pints of chocolate milk and a banana
      • ½ whole wheat bagel and 2 tbsp of peanut butter
      • One orange, ½ cup of low fat cottage cheese
      • One apple, ½ cup of low fat yogurt
      • Slice of whole wheat bread, several slices of turkey and 1 cup of skim milk
    • Consume shakes or meal within 15-30 minutes after your activity.
    • Follow up with a complete meal within 1-2 hours. Food should be continued to be consumed over the next 2-4 hours to achieve completely refueled cells.
    • If after activity you do not feel hungry try drinking these calories in a shake or in the form of chocolate milk if necessary.
    • High Octane shake example: 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 banana, crushed ice and 2 scoops of commercial protein powder.
      • Don't use protein powder? Try this: 1 cup of skim white milk, 1cup water, crushed ice, banana, orange (no seeds), and ½ cup of low fat yogurt.
      • Skipping your post workout nutrition in hopes of loosing additional weight will have the opposite affect and will cause you to gain additional weight in the future.

4. Consume a source of protein at each meal. 

  • GOAL: Ensure ALL macronutrients are present in diet. Provide the appropriate amount of high quality protein in the diet to build lean muscle,
  • Excellent sources of breakfast protein include: skim milk, egg whites, yogurt, cottage cheese and ham.
  • Choose turkey breast, chicken or lean cuts of red meat over high fat sandwich lunchmeats.
  • Include skinless chicken and fish for complete dinner proteins.
  • Add beans, nuts, seeds, nut spreads such as peanut butter, legumes and other incomplete proteins to your diet to add variety.
  • Include a source of protein with your post workout nutrition to increase carbohydrate absorption.
  • Add protein powder in shakes or plain breakfast oatmeal to increase your total caloric intake and increase/fulfill your protein requirement. Adding peanut butter will add additional protein and calories with a good source of fat.
  • Try to avoid deep fried chicken and other deep fried meat, as these are mostly fat with actually little protein available.
  • Choose low fat yogurt, cottage cheese and milk for quality sources of protein.
  • All fish products and shellfish are valuable sources of protein. Watch out for deep fried portions however, choose broiled or baked servings first.

5. Drink more water

  • How much water should I drink?
    • Before Exercise: 2-3 hours consume 17-20 ounces of water or a Sports drink.
    • During Exercise: drink 7-10 ounces of cool water every 10-20 minutes. Drink beyond thirst. If you participate in an endurance event or an intense event lasting beyond 45 minutes a carbohydrate enriched fluid (Sports drink) is encouraged to provide additional energy and replace electrolytes lost.
    • After Exercise: replace each pound of weight loss with 20 ounces of water within 2 hours. Continue to drink water for remainder of day.
    • National Athletic Trainers Association Position Statement: The NATA also states that exercising in a dehydrated state will impair performance in less than one hour, will decrease performance up to almost 50%, and will increase your risk of developing a heat illness.
  • Water doesn’t taste good?
    • Try to dilute a sports drink or add a small amount of sports drink powder to water for flavor. Use a diluted juice/water mix after exercise to help replenish carbohydrate stores and rehydrate. (Do not use this strategy during exercise as the sugar in juice, Fructose, may cause stomach cramping and discomfort).
  • How do I know if I am dehydrated?
    • Urine color and smell is a good indicator of hydration levels. If your urine is a dark yellow color with a strong odor you are dehydrated. Caution: Many multivitamins will produce bright yellow colored urine even in a well-hydrated person, in contrast to the darker straw colored urine from the dehydrated athlete. Weighing yourself before and after exercise without clothes will also accurately determine the amount of fluid lost and subsequently your hydration level. Each pound of water weight lost should be replaced as soon as possible approximately 20 ounces of water.
      • Carry a water bottle throughout the day. Drink continually and beyond thirst.
      • Exercise and activity require additional fluids.
    • Sports drinks may be helpful if you compete in an endurance event or an extended intense practice session.
    • Hot or humid conditions require additional water. Water should make up half of your total fluid intake.
    • Avoid beverages that contain caffeine as well as alcohol as they will dehydrate your body.
    • Adequate hydration levels will increase athletic and academic performance.

6. Eat more whole vegetables and fruit

  • This is simple: eat them, and lots of them.
  • The darker the vegetable the better, but include all colors for variety.
  • Fruits and vegetables in their raw natural forms are preferred over preserved fruits and vegetables as they often are loaded with excess sugar and unnatural preservatives.
  • These should be included at almost every meal, and are great sources for snacks.
  • There is absolutely no excuse for not being able to carry an apple or banana in your book bag to eat between classes.