Nutrition Tips for Athletes

Recently I gave a talk to a varsity football team. Here are the Big Rocks. They could apply to any athlete, or any person, for that matter.

1. Eat protein every meal.
2. Choose one-ingredient foods as often as possible.
3. Pack your lunch as often as possible.
4. Choose nutrient dense foods over calorie-dense foods; however, enjoy your favorite foods from time to time.
5. Your most important meal of the day is _______________. (Answer: The next one)
6. Never go more than 4 (waking) hours without calories.
7. Food first, supplements second. If you are going to use supplements, do your homework. A solid foundation would include a multivitamin/multimineral, protein powder (if warranted), and creatine (if allowed). Check with your parents and coaches if there are restrictions, limitations or concerns regarding supplement use.
8. Eat as soon as you can in the morning.
9. Carry food with you at school.
10. Be honest with yourself: Are you “big” or are you overweight? Be as lean as needed for your sport/position but no leaner. Be as big as needed for your sport/position but no bigger.
11. Hydrate. Count all sources of liquid to get to your desired hydration status, with the majority from water. If your urine is lemonade-colored or clear, you are hydrated.
12. There are no “off days” from nutrition. Weekends are just as important as weekdays; training days are just as important as non-training days.
13. The Unholy trinity: Fat, Sugar and Salt.
14. Food is what you see, smell and taste; nutrition is what happens next.
15. Think of nutrition like this: If you took a magic pill that would make you a better student, a better athlete and have the physique you desire, would you take it? Nutrition can make you think better, perform better and look better!