You Are What You Eat?

by Greg Siller - Pro Learning Systems

Nutrition is very important to your physical and mental well-being, as well as your ability to play your best for an entire game or practice. Eating properly will provide you with the essential nutrients you need to perform your best.

Nutrients are essential for our bodies to build and repair themselves, to provide energy, protect vital organs, and help regulate our bodily processes. Nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.

With the fast pace lifestyles of people today, we don't always put a priority on eating right. We all seem to be able to eat different kinds of meats, pastas, and salads; however eating 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables is not done nearly enough. Fruits and vegetables not only provide for large amounts of vital nutrients but also enhance the bodies ability to fight cancer and disease. Eating right includes eating low-fat meats, pastas, salads as well as your fruits and veggies each day.

Before your game or practice (at least two-to-three hours before), you should eat foods that are high in carbohydrates (called carb loading). These foods include lean meats, chicken, fish, whole grain breads and cereals, pasta, low-fat milk and cheese products, yogurt, fresh and dried fruits, fresh nuts, and fresh vegetables. Foods to avoid before a game or practice include fried foods, most fast/convenience foods, most cakes and pies, fatty meats or soups, or sugary foods (such as candy bars or soft drinks). Even though these foods contain carbohydrates, they will not provide your body with the sustaining energy it needs for a full practice or game. And if you are playing in a multi-game tournament, you will not be as effective in the later games when fatigue really starts to set in.

During your game or practice, water is the only essential nutrient that you need. If you are playing in a multi-game tournament, you can supplement the water with a sports drink, in small amounts.

After your game or practice, you need to replenish the carbohydrates that were used up so that you will not remain tired for very long. The first thirty minutes after a game or practice is a crucial time for replenishment. Fruit juices, sports drinks (complex carbs), and sweetened/soft drinks (simple carbs) are best because they are absorbed easily. An after-game meal should also contain high carbohydrate foods and a small amount of protein for muscle tissue repair.

This nutrition information won't guarantee that you will be chosen to the professional ranks, but it will improve your odds of reaching your personal best!

Contact Greg Siller @ Pro Learning Systems