In order to achieve your fitness goals, it is important that you develop healthy eating habits. The following info serves as a “nutritional guide” for putting you on the right path. This guide is very basic in nature. For an in depth look at your eating habits you should contact a Registered Dietician (RD). You should try and reduce your intake of refined sugars (cookies, cake, etc.) and saturated fat (butter, oils, etc.) and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also recommended that a quality multi-vitamin should be taken daily. Due to the vigorous strain that training places on the body it is hard to get all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients out of the diet alone. For more information on what other nutritional supplements that is recommended contact Dr. Owens.
Optimum athletic performance require sound nutritional habits. It is very important not to overlook the role nutrition plays in acquiring maximum physical development. What you eat on a daily basis helps determine your body fat levels as well as how much energy you have for intense, rigorous exercise. Whether you are trying to gain muscle, reduce body fat, or maintain your current stature – it is very important you follow these basic dietary recommendations:
- A balanced diet consists of approximately 60-65% carbohydrates.
- 15-20% fat and 10-15% protein.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.).
- LIMIT your intake of fat, sugar, and sodium and carbonated beverages (pepsi, coke, etc.)
- Avoid any nicotine!!!
- Drink plenty of WATER!
- Eat 5-7 “smaller” meals throughout the day (size of meal depends on actual goal: weight loss vs. weight gain).
- Try to limit the amount of calories 3 hrs before going to sleep (esp. fat and simple sugars).
Losing Weight the Healthy Way
In order to reduce body fat, you MUST EXPEND MORE CALORIES THAN YOU CONSUME on a daily basis. This means you have to eat less and exercise more. This should be done over time. Any extreme weight loss is usually temporary and will result is gaining the weight that was lost back and adding on more. The average weight loss should not exceed 5-7 lbs the first week and 2-4 lbs/week thereafter. Males have a tendency to lose weight at a faster pace due the increased muscle mass. Muscle tissue burns calories, so the more muscle a person has, the more calories he or she will burn.
To determine how many calories a day you should consume, multiply your current body weight by 15. This will give you a rough estimate of your daily caloric needs. For example, a 200 lb. athlete trying to reduce body fat should only consume around 3000 calories a day (200 X 15 = 3000). Depending on your individual metabolism as well as your daily energy expenditure through physical activity – this number may have to be slightly adjusted either higher or lower. Also note, do not let your caloric intake per day drop below 1200-1500 – you body will go into a “starvation mode” which results in several physical complications.
Weight Gain the Healthy Way
In order to gain weight, you MUST CONSUME MORE CALORIES THAN YOU EXPEND on a daily basis. This means you have to eat, eat, and eat.
To determine how many calories a day you should consume, multiply your current body weight by 25. This will give you a rough estimate of your daily caloric needs. For example, a 200 lb. athlete trying to gain muscular body weight requires around 5000 calories a day (200 X 25 = 5000). Depending on your individual metabolism as well as your daily energy expenditure through physical activity – this number may have to be slightly adjusted either higher or lower.
Fluid Goals for Athletes
It is extremely important to be well hydrated, especially during the summer heat. Athletic performance can decrease dramatically when the body is low on water. You should aim to drink on a set schedule, don’t wait until you are thirsty.
- Drink 16 oz. of fluid 2 hours before competition.
- Drink 8 oz. 15 minutes prior to competition.
- Drink during the event (at least 8 oz. every 20 minutes)
- Drink 24 oz. per pound of body weight lost.
Nutritional Tips for Athletes
The goals for nutritional care for athletes are very simple:
- Ensure you are properly hydrated at all times (especially during times of active training and competition). Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking water!
- Consume adequate calories to meet growth and development needs as well as the extra needs of intense training.
- Adopt healthy eating habits that will last you a lifetime. Don’t bother with a “quick fix” or a temporary diet. If you are on a diet temporarily, then the results will only be temporary.
- Design a meal pattern that fits your daily cycle and plan to eat several times per day using regularly spaced meals and snacks to meet your caloric and nutrient needs.
- Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates to provide the energy source to fuel your intense training and competition. Try and consume a variety of food types (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.) as you best insurance for getting the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to maintain health.
- Eat light before competition.
- Eat complex carbs and limit protein and avoid fat intake (they are much slower to digest) and avoid carbonated beverages.
- Eat slowly and chew well to avoid indigestion.
- Drink small amounts of water.
- Replace fluids that have been lost, but avoid carbonated beverages.
- Consume carbohydrate rich foods as soon as possible after competition. They will replenish glycogen that was used during activity.
- Eat fruits and vegetables to help replace electrolytes that were lost during activity.
- Return to your normal diet as soon as possible following the post game meal.