The timing and choices in the diet of an athlete are the most amendable apects of enhancing mental and athletic performance. Knowing what to eat and when to eat is the most important element in supporting energy, mental focus, injury prevention, and recovery.
As a mother of two very athletic children, I have spent countless hours in the world of competitive youth sports. As parents, we invest a great deal of time and money into supporting our athletes' demanding schedules and their dedication to training. However, over the years I have observed the common habits taking place at sporting events that actually undermine the performance of athletes. It has become commonplace for athletes to be fueling with processed foods, sugar laden snacks and sports drinks that are merely cocktails of chemicals, sugar, artificial colors, and flavors. There is a growing need to educate athletes and their caretakers on how to nourish their bodies to support their needs, and it has become a passion of mine.
What all these processed food-like substances do to the body in general is beyond this blog post. (if you would like to learn more this is covered in my nutrition consultations) But let's ask ourselves, How do these choices contribute specifically to athletic performance and recovery now, and how will it affect their growth and development in the years to come?
The standard diet is energy rich but nutrient poor. This sets the body up for poor mental focus on and off the field, and compromised endurance, performance, and recovery. Athletes have increased needs for nutrient dense foods that support all the cellular activities such as growth and repair, muscle contraction, energy production, and brain function. Nutrients found in whole foods work synergistically, which enhances their absorption and utilization to perform their respective functions. Knowing which foods to eat is key in optimizing health. With hectic schedules this may all seem overwhelming, but with adequate planning, time, and practice, it can be implemented into your lifestyle with minimal stress.
With my Nutrition Education for Athletes consultation, I provide individualized nutrition education and planning to help athletes gain that edge to inch them closer to their goals. Now is the time to instill the values of whole nutrition and the healthy habits that will ensure their optimal growth and development. To find out more and how to get started, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org