Follow by Email

Friday, 30 August 2013

Pre-Season Nutrition

Proper nutrition during tryouts might not be what helps you make the team or prevent injury but poor nutrition can hinder your chances of success.  During tryouts the physical demands being put on the body are greater than normal.  Typically there are more sessions at a greater intensity than during the season, the body is going to need proper fuel to compete at its maximum potential.  

You can not start eating right the night before and expect everything to work out great.  As with physical conditioning, you need to start fueling your body properly long before you step on the field for the start of the season.  When searching for an ideal diet to use for both athletics and everyday life follow the Canada Food Guide. Fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.  Milk products can work great post activity though typically not recommend prior to activity as they can unsettle the stomach once activity commences.   Athletes need to consume all three of the major macro-nutrients; carbohydrates, protein and fat to fuel the body properly as well as providing it with the proper nutrients for growth and development.  The body uses carbohydrates to create the energy needed for physical and mental activity, eliminating them is very counter productive for any athlete.  

A common question that is asked by coaches, parents and athletes is "when should I eat prior to my event?". It is not a cut and dry answer as every person has their own perfect balance as to when and how much they need to eat prior to activity.  A general rule of thumb is that as the younger an athlete is the closer to start time they should eat.  Their metabolism is faster and will use up the energy gained from eating quicker.  As we age our metabolism slows down, instead of eating a big meal a few hours before the game, the larger meal may need to consumed quite a few hours before with a small easily digestible snack closer to game time.  During pre-season and tryouts there are typically multiple sessions in one day making it hard to find time to eat a good healthy meal and allow the body to digest it.  Eating smaller meals that are easily digestible will give you the energy to compete but not weigh you down or cause cramps. 

Prior to your sessions eat low or medium glycemic index (GI) foods such as fruits and vegetables or beans.  Your body needs carbohydrates to be active so having a bowl of granola or oatmeal, with nuts and fruits would be ideal, a non dairy based shake full of fruits and veggies is an easy digestible option.  Post activity you need to provide your body with both carbohydrates and protein, depending on how long until your next session will decide on the size of the meal.  Protein shakes made with fruits and vegetables are great at this time, just be careful of the amount of dairy you are having.  A couple of other great meals would be a peanut butter sandwich and fruit or a bagel with a lean meat, wild salmon would be a great choice, with either spinach, sprouts or kale. Always drink water to stay hydrated, you can see our previous post on the importance of hydration. You might have heard that chocolate milk is a great post exercise drink, it is as it provides you with carbohydrates, protein, and two major electrolytes; sodium and potassium to help the body rebuild and refuel. Compare other beverages to chocolate milk to see how they stack up.

As tempting as it may be to go through the drive thru for a quick meal DON"T. Fast foods will not provide your body with the nutrients it needs, as well as there is a decrease in blood flow through the arteries and veins due to the vessels constricting.  When you will ask your muscles and heart to react to the physical demands you are going to put them through, they will not be receiving the necessary blood flow to do what you ask.  You will feel lethargic and unable to perform at your best.

Take a little time to plan your meals during this hectic time of the year.  You will enjoy the benefits of providing your body with the food it needs to perform at its best. 

No comments:

Post a Comment