As a former elite gymnast in the 80's proper fueling was not something we learned about. I remember rushing from school to the gym to hurriedly do my homework on the mats and scarf down the vending machine crackers and cheese package with some kind of of sports drink full of sugar, red and yellow dye, and artificial ingredients.
My at home nutrition consisted of Hormel Chili cold from a can and often times t.v. dinners when I'd get home late at night. This is no fault of my mom....she tried to get me to eat better. Sorry, mom!
As athletes we simply weren't taught to eat to healthy and we sure weren't taught to eat for performance. It's a wonder I performed as well as I did those years as a competitor.
I am finding today's athletes are no better. As I talk with parents of competitors I hear things like, "I have no idea what my athlete needs to eat to perform at his best"or "I wish I had someone to walk me through the ropes of helping my athlete eat and even recover in a way that helps with performance."
Healthy eating can be tricky with adolescent athletes. I get it....remember me with my cold chili? But, it doesn't have to be impossible.
For starters, educating and offering solutions for healthy options and proper fuel timings is key. Did you know that your athlete will perform better if she/he has a small carbohydrate and protein snack 15-30 min before practice? Did you know that if you add fat to that it will actually slow down performance?
Did you know that just a 2% decrease in proper hydration before and during a training practice or a competition will decrease performance. A June 2013 review in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition revealed that a dehydration level of just 2 percent was enough to impair performance in tasks that required attention, psychomotor and immediate memory skills.
Your athlete needs all the support they can get to avoid injury, burnout and possible loss of their game.
Here are some quick ways to help fuel your athlete for optimal performance:
Consume 2 hours prior to sport:
Chicken or Steak
Avocado or Veggie with butter
15 min before sport:
They need something with quick energy for their output on the field.
Hydration is key
Water is simply not enough. They are losing electrolytes causing depletion of the cells in the muscles. This causes fatigue quickly.
Stay hydrated with a clean electrolyte drink. Or take water and add Hymalayn salt to it.
Consume within 1 hour:
Tuna with mayo
On whole wheat toast
Bowl of greens
Adding a bit more fat to the post game or post training helps the body to slow down absorption to the liver and muscles. Protein feeds the muscle to maintain healthy mass and aids in recovery of the muscle, complex carbs help feed the glycogen (energy) to the body and helps with maintaining energy.
Fueling your athlete with proper nutrition and even better yet, Genetically Unique Nutrition for their bodies will assure that they perform at peak levels.
Perform STRONG- Stay WILD,