There are many college athletes training year round on tracks and in weight rooms in hope of obtaining a personal record or conference, division or even a national title.
College dinning halls and cafeterias have now been added to the list of training centers giving athletes the upper hand against their competition. With talk of obesity in America’s future, nutrition on and off the field has become a major component of training programs today.
Besides the obvious benefits such as physical activity and personal enjoyment, sports have a lot more to offer. Student-athletes are provided with a foundation for discipline and determinations, both very important factors for success in their futures. Their participation in extracurricular activities will expand their knowledge far beyond the classroom through travel and social interaction.
“My major helps me better understand the good and the bad for my body. As an athlete I’ve always found it important to eat healthy but now I’m learning what healthy really means,” replied Maura Hansen, a senior Nutrition and Dietetics major at Seton Hill University, when ask how her major and experience as a student athlete tie together. “I see my teammates eating pizzas or fried foods throughout the day. You’d be amazed what foods people think are healthy.”
It’s true athletes need an additional number of calories added to their diet. The number of calories needed depends on the intensity and duration of the activity as well as the frequency it is performed.
What you eat impacts how you perform. Start each day with breakfast, giving you energy for you morning and boosting your metabolism. A great breakfast may include a shake, eggs, a whole grain toast or bagel, fruit or low fat yogurt.
The energy for the rest of your afternoon and practice depends on what you consume at lunch. Use this time to refuel.
You’ve had a long day of classes and practice and might feel like just going back to your dorm and crawling into bed but it’s very important to let your body recover from the stress it’s been under. At dinner choose foods from each food group, grains, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy.
Some student athletes have special dietary restrictions. For these athletes it may be suggested they take a nutrition supplement to make up for a lack of nutrients. The NCAA has rules limiting the use of supplements. Before taking any form of dietary product, always consult a doctor or dietician.
It is recommended that athletes drink fluids before, during and after participating in an activity. For early morning practices try to take in about 20-30 ounces before going to bed. For activities lasting more then an hour it’s best to drink water and a sports drink.
Eating unbalanced or skipping meals can make your body prone to injury. It can even lead to more serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Eating healthy is the only way to control your weight and maintain strength for maximum performance.
To learn more about products that can be beneficial to a college athlete, read this article to understand what sports nutrition products your body needs during training: Energy, Hydration, and Muscle Recovery.