As student athletes are often pressed for time trying to juggle their schedules with classes, homework, practice, and games. At times, their attention to a healthy diet may begin to wavier. Just as practice is important to performance, nutrition is vital to an athlete’s success on and off the field. Follow these tips to help your student athletes consume a well balanced diet, improving both athletic performance and brain power!
Adequate nutrition and hydration can make or break a workout and greatly affect how an athlete feels, works and thinks. What and when an athlete eats determines the level of energy storage in the muscles (glycogen) and how quickly muscles are ready to train again at peak capacity.
In order to fuel their bodies for an optimal athletic performance, athletes must make sure to consume adequate calories to provide energy for your muscles. However, where you get your calories from is also very important. An athlete needs to consume an adequate intake of carbohydrates to fuel the working muscle. An athlete also needs to consume adequate protein to preserve and build lean body mass (muscle) and promote more stable energy supply. Adequate hydration is also vital to prevent dehydration and replace fluids and electrolytes lost via sweat.
Here are some guidelines athletes should follow before a workout or competition:
• Always take in a good source of carbohydrate prior to exercising. A general “Rule of Thumb” is to include 15 grams of carbohydrate for every half hour of aerobic exercise you plan to perform. (15 grams of carbohydrate is equal to 1 medium piece of fruit, 4 oz of juice, 8 oz of milk, 1 slice of bread, or 6 oz of a sports drink)
• Include some protein or fat for long-term energy, however avoid over consumption of protein (more than 2 to 3 ounces) or fat (more than 2 servings) prior to any aerobic exercise, as protein takes longer for your body to digest and may promote cramping during exercise. (3 oz of protein is equal to the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. 1 oz of protein is equal to the size of a golf ball)
For muscles to recover, it is also important to pay attention to your eating habits and nutrition intake after a workout as well.
• Within 30 minutes of exercise completion make sure to have a balanced meal to aid in replacing energy stores, repairing and rebuilding muscle fibers, and help to increase performance of your next workout.
• A balanced meal should include at least one to two servings of carbohydrate (15 to 30 grams), two to four ounces of protein (more may be required after intensive weight lifting/ body building exercise), and at least one to three servings of fat.
To help athlete’s optimize performance and stay adequately hydrated, try these tips. Consume 16 oz of fluid one hour prior to exercise and then drink 6-10 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes during workout. Consider consuming fluid amounts in the form of a sports drink if workout is greater than one hour, or extremely hot weather condition. However, do not use sodas or juice as fluid during exercise as these beverages have a higher concentration of sugar per ounce than sports drinks which may lead to cramping and impaired performance.
If you are looking to revamp your diet, lose weight, or get in shape- you’re in luck! I now offer online and phone nutrition coaching, E-nutrition Mail packages, Mini Meal Makeovers, and Custom Meal Planning. Contact me today for more information or schedule your session online: http://www.erinpalinski.com/counseling.html
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For more information, check out Erin’s website, America’s Belly Fat Fighter, at www.erinpalinski.com