The Fuel to your Fire
Work hard, train harder, but another aspect we tend to forget as athletes is our diet. Some of the most important parts of our trainings are outside of the lines. Young athletes are on a tight and busy schedule and forget that what we are putting into our body matters. Whatever we put in, will affect our performance that comes out on the field. This week, The Blazers will focus on some diet and health tips to achieve the most out of our physical performances.
The Night Before
Eating a healthy balanced dinner is extremely important for the athlete’s body before game day. We should focus on a balanced plate of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vegetables, and fluids. An example of an ideal athlete’s dinner plate could be brown rice (carbohydrate), grilled chicken (protein), a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette (or any Fat-Free dressing), and a favorite vegetable. We need to also make sure we are fully hydrated by drinking enough water and/or 100% fruit juices.
The night before a game, the most important part of taking care of an athlete’s body is allowing it to rest. We should try to regulate our sleep schedule every day, which means go to bed, and wake up around the same time. Young athletes usually do this during the weekdays due to their school schedule, but we should keep this schedule throughout the weekend as well. Setting off our sleep schedule on the weekends, is usually the result of our bodies feeling groggy and fatigue. Most of our games will be on the weekends, so it is important to get at least eight hours of the recommended sleep to make sure our bodies are ready to perform to the best of our ability for game day.
The Morning of Game Day
It’s time to rise and shine, and in order to shine on the field; we need to make sure we start our day by eating a healthy breakfast. We should never skip breakfast, especially on a game day. What we need to focus on are food groups that will give us energy and protect our muscles from deteriorating during our high energy demanding athletic performances. With that being said, we should focus on our food groups of carbohydrates, fruits, and fluid intake. Some examples of carbohydrates we could have for breakfast would be oatmeal, 100% whole wheat or whole grain toast/bagels, or any high fiber cereals or cereal bars (Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Special K, etc.). For fruits, we should focus on high energy with natural sugars such as apples, oranges, bananas, or any berries. We should definitely stay away from sugary fluids such as soda, energy drinks, or sport drinks. We should only drink sport drinks during and after our exercise. The morning of our game, we should try to drink either water, or 100% fruit juice.
To perform to the best of our ability we need to take care of our bodies not only on the outside but inside, too. Whatever we put into our body will affect what we will produce out. These are just a couple tips to make sure our bodies will stay in shape and perform at the highest level of play possible.
Keep an eye out for the next blog from the New England Blazers focusing on recovery of our bodies after our practices and games.