By Amanda Moran ATC, LMT
Although many athletes don’t think much about what they are – or aren’t – putting into their bodies, nutrition plays a big role in their performance level and their ability to stay injury-free. The truth is that proper nutrition can help an athlete sustain their energy throughout practice, prevent fatigue injuries from occurring on the field, and help with muscle recovery after practice. Under-fueling the body can also put an athlete at risk for colds and illnesses.
Athletes should have a food plan for the day and carry a healthy snack or two in their backpacks to hold them over between workouts and meals. Whether it be a full meal or a snack, athletes should be eating every 2-3 hours.
10 Nutrition Rules For Athletes to Stay Healthy and at Their Peak Performance Level
1. Eat minimally processed foods: limit foods that have added sugars, trans fat, and saturated fats. Most food shopping should occur along the perimeter of the grocery store.
2. Eat a rainbow of colors: Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to get vitamins and minerals.
3. Choose lean proteins: these include chicken, fish, but don’t forget about using beans and tofu to get some protein as well
4. Choose healthy fats: not all fat is bad, you just need to choose healthy fats for your diet like olive oil, flaxseed, fish, nuts and seeds, and avocados
5. Choose whole-grain carbohydrates: these are rich in fiber and nutrients that fuel the body
6. Eat breakfast every day: kick start your metabolism with carbohydrates, protein, and fluids to get you going and focused.
7. Fuel your training: don’t skip meals and make sure to eat every 2-3 hours whether it’s a meal or a snack
8. Stay hydrated: the average female needs 2.7 Liters of water per day, males need 3.7 Liters. A small decrease in hydration can negatively affect your performance on the field.
9. Recover: eating in that 30-60 min window to restore those glycogen levels
10. Sleep: athletes should be getting between 6-8 hours per night to help with recovery and restoring their muscles.
If you are suffering from a sports-related injury and are struggling after practice, contact Performance Physical Therapy at 401.726.7100 for a free 15-minute evaluation. We have 13 locations in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts that can help you with your pain, injury, or condition. Our Certified Athletic Trainers provide a range of services to schools, Athletic Directors, and student-athletes in the areas of injury prevention and safety, coordination and communication, and service. You can contact us to learn more about requesting athletic training coverage.
To learn more about Amanda Moran, ATC, LMT, visit her bio here.
1. Eating frequency for student-athletes – infographic from NCAA and Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition-Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
2. Fueling During Exercise- infographic From NCAA and Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition-Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
3. Fueling for Recovery – infographic from NCAA and Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition-Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics