West Feliciana High School Performance Nutrition

Performance Enhancing Athlete Nutrition

FUELING For PERFORMANCE

 

  • Eat early
  • Eat well
  • Eat often
  • Build a performance-enhancing plate
Food is Fuel icon

EAT EARLY

  • Breakfast is the MOST IMPORTANT meal of the day.
  • It REPLENISHES your supply of glucose to BOOSTS ENERGY levels and alertness

Ideal Breakfast =  carb, like toast and/or fruit  and a protein, like eggs or peanut butter. 

breakfast icon

EAT WELL

  • Focus on Eating Macros 

Macros = 3 categories of nutrients you eat the most + provide the most fuel

Macros = Carbohydrates, Protein, + Fats 

macros infographic

CARBOHYDRATES

  • Primary Source of Energy
  • Should make up 50% of an Athlete’s Fuel 
  • SIMPLE CARBS = Natural Foods = Fruit
  • Provide quick bursts of energy 
  • Consume 30 minutes before training or during sports activity 
  • COMPLEX CARBS = whole grains, sweet potatoes, rice, pasta + bread 
  • Provide more sustained energy
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PROTEIN

  • Builds Muscles 
  • Should make up 25% of each meal
  • Great for Recovery – it helps replenish the muscles quickly 
  • Try to focus on Lean Proteins: white meat chicken, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy
protein icon

HEALTHY FATS

  • Fuels the body the longest of the 3 macros (ex: 4th quarter of a football game)
  • Are critical for cell membrane structure + hormone production
  • Omega-3 Fatty acids serve as anti-inflammatories
  • Are more calorically dense, so you can increase calories without increasing food volume
healthy fats icon

EAT THIS NOT THAT

Carbohydrates

EAT THIS

Whole Wheat Bread
Oatmeal
Baked Chips
Sweet Potato/ Baked Potato
Brown Rice
Whole Grain Cereal

NOT THIS

White Bread
Muffins/ Pastries
Regular Chips
Fries
White Rice
Cereal w/ Animal Mascot

Protein

EAT THIS

Scrambled or Boiled Eggs
Reduced- Fat Dairy
Chicken Breast & Thigh (grilled/ baked)
Lean Beef (90%)
Fish (grilled/ baked)
Greek Yogurt (low-sugar)

NOT THIS

Fried or Microwaved Eggs
Full Fat Dairy
Dark Meat Chicken Or Fried
Fatty Beef (85% or fattier)
Fried Fish
Yogurt w/ lots of added sugar

Fats

EAT THIS

Avocado (guac)
Peanut/ Almond Butter
Nuts/ Trail Mix
Olive Oil/ Olive Oil Based Dressing
Whole Foods  

NOT THIS

Full Fat Sour Cream
Cream Cheese
Candy
Creamy White Sauces
Processed Junk Food

EAT OFTEN

An athlete’s goal is to maximize the amount of energy available during workouts and for recovery. This means eating a sufficient amount of quality calories, keeping energy (blood sugar) levels stable throughout the day, and staying hydrated. Though eating 5-7 meals and snacks throughout the day is a great guideline, but all athletes have to be adaptable. 

Three goals of recovery nutrition:

  • Repair—take in protein to repair muscle damage accumulated during the training session
  • Replenish—consume carbohydrates to replace glycogen used for energy during training
  • Rehydrate—drink fluids to match loss during a training session

Meal timing around training is summarized as follows:

-A full meal 3-4 hours before a training session

-A high-carbohydrate snack ~30 minutes before training (skip protein pairing here—the goal is quick energy and ease of digestion)

-Ingesting simple carbohydrates when a training session is longer than 2 hours

-Consuming recovery nutrition 0-2 hours post-training session

THE PLATE METHOD: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Sample Meal 1: Breakfast Burrito

  • Corn tortillas (complex carb)
  • Eggs, turkey sausage, a sprinkle of cheese (protein)
  • Fruit (fruit)

Sample Meal 2: Lunch Sandwich

  • Whole wheat bread, side of baked chips (complex carb)
  • Turkey, Cheese (protein)
  • Lettuce, Tomato, side of Fruit (veg/fruit)

Sample Meal 3: Spaghetti+ Red Sauce

  • Pasta (complex carb)
  • Lean ground beef (protein)
  • Red sauce, side salad (veg)
Performance Nutrition Infographic

What many people fail to understand is if you want to be great at something, you must prioritize the habits and behaviors that support that goal. If you want to be a healthier person, better athlete, and more studious student, power up with a high-quality breakfast. It is no secret what happens when breakfast and other meals are skipped or when a candy bar is eaten in place of a real meal.

A high school athlete needs to view their nutrition as their foundation for health and success. A weak foundation leads to weakening of the structure it’s supposed to support.

Daily Nutritional Requirements for Athlete Infographic

HYDRATION

  • Establishing hydration and rehydration strategies are crucial for preventions fo risks associated with dehydration.
    • Drink at least 16 ounces of water and/ or fluid (milk, 100 percent fruit juice, smoothies, etc.) first thing in the morning.
    • Carry a large water jug to hydrate throughout the day, especially the couple of hours leading up to practice.
    • Consume foods high in water content and electrolytes (especially if you are prone to cramping) such as milk, yogurt, bananas, potatoes, dried fruit and nuts trail mix, deli meat, beef jerky, etc.
    • Drink about 6 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes during practice. Water is adequate for practices 60 minutes and shorter. Add in any electrolyte beverage for practices lasting longer than 1 hour or if training is in hot and humid conditions.
    • Monitor fluid loss. Drink 20 to 24 ounces of water and/ or electrolyte beverage for every pound lost during practice.

SLEEP

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

The recommended sleep range for athletes is 7-9 hours a night. Elite athletes are encouraged to get at least nine hours of sleep nightly and to treat sleep with as much importance as athletic training and diet.

It’s important to keep in mind that getting in bed at the same time every single day for weeks on end is borderline impossible, so keep this in mind as a benchmark — strive for a consistent bedtime as frequently as possible.

1. Falling Asleep

This is when you’re in transition. You’re easy to wake. Falling asleep composes 10–15% of your night.

2. MAINTAINING SLEEP

During this light sleep stage, your body is focused on staying asleep but hasn’t yet entered the deep sleep stage. Stage 2 is defined by a couple different types of brainwaves — spindles (higher frequency) and K-complexes (a little lower). Both have the same effect: to help you stay asleep despite any potential noise or other disruptors in the bedroom or beyond. Maintaining a sleeping state makes up 50–60% of your night.

3. DEEP SLEEP

This is the money zone. It’s during this deep sleep stage that the body begins to synthesize protein, glycogen, and cortisol. Cell division occurring during this phase of an athlete’s sleep is what repairs microtears and allows you to wake up rejuvenated. Without adequate sleep, you won’t spend enough time in deep sleep and are actually “throwing out your training”. Deep sleep composes 15–20% of your time spent sleeping.

4. REM SLEEP

REM — or rapid eye movement — is the dream state. A maximum of 10% of your night is spent in this stage.

IMPACT OF SLEEP ON INJURIES

Athletes who sleep fewer than seven hours are 170% more likely to sustain an injury.

While there are methods for recovery, there’s no substitute for sleep’s ability to repair muscles and prevent injury. There are no magical pills, no magical ice baths, and no magical order from Amazon. It’s sleep.

PHASES OF TRAINING

Athletes train at different intensities and stages throughout the year according to their specific event and individual needs. While these differences exist, the year for athletes can be broken into three major phases: preseason, competition season and offseason.
PRE-SEASON

Preseason training is the time of year when the most strenuous and vigorous workouts occur. Whatever the training entails, proper fueling and hydration strategies are key for daily improvement and optimal performance.

DAILY MEALS & SNACKS

A common trend seen with athletes is the tendency to skip breakfast, skimp on lunch and snacks, and backload their calories at the end of the day, usually after physical exertion.

Fueling the body frequently and consistently throughout each day ensures that you receive adequate amounts of carbohydrate for energy purposes, proper protein intake for repairing and building muscle tissue, and healthy portions of fat for enhancing endurance and healing potential.

Preseason is the perfect time to plan and experiment with different types of food and the timing of meals and snacks in order to figure out what works best.

Planning meals and snacks ahead of time will prevent settling on quick, last-minute, poor food choices. It will also assist you with meeting weight management and body composition goals and allow you to transition into the competition season with ease.

Even though athletes differ in size, physique and events, a consistent nutrition routine is essential for everyone. Calorie, carbohydrate and protein needs are highest during the preseason phase due to the high intensity and longer duration of training sessions. Base portion size on your individual needs and goals.

 

  • The day should always being with a wholesome breakfast consisting of a variety of nutrition- dense foods. If you’re not accustomed to eating in the morning, starting simple and small can help your body adjust to eating early and help make breakfast a daily habit. A few examples include: 
    • Apple slices dipped in peanut butter
    • Half of a bagel topped with peanut butter and honey
    • A small tortilla rolled with sliced turkey meat and spinach
    • ½ cup trail mix: mixed nuts, dried fruit, cereal, pretzels
  • Athletes’ muscles are always hungry for fuel before and after sessions/ practice. Two to three hours after breakfast, follow up with a small nutritious snack. Plan your snacks ahead of time and include foods that can be packed for easy transport.
  • When fueling for an afternoon session/ practice, the lunch meal enables you to top off your body’s glycogen stores and provide optimal energy for a strong and successful training session.
  • Mid workout fuel may be needed for session lasting longer than 60 intense minutes or for those that take place in hot and humid conditions (Louisiana summer). In addition to drinking fluids during practice you can incorporate carbohydrate boosters like fruit such as bananas, oranges, and grapes; applesauce pouches, and low processes granola bars.
  • Workouts will end with a cool-down and stretching, but practice is not completely finished until a recovery snack or meal is consumed. The ultimate goals for post-practice refueling is to fully prepare the body for the next days practice or event
  • Ending the day with a wholesome dinner helps continue the recovery process and ensures that calories and nutrient needs are met. Include a variety of whole- grain carbohydrates, lean protein, vegetables and heart- healthy fats. Meal prepping at the beginning of the week can ultimately save time and money.
Three Step Recovery Nutrition Infographic
COMPETITION SEASON

The entire fall semester is dedicated to preparing track and field athletes both physically and mentally for the long indoor and outdoor seasons ahead. When the season begins, home and travel meets are pretty much nonstop until mid-June; this leaves little to no time to figure out which nutrition and hydration plan works best. Therefore, it is important to develop your nutrition strategy during the preseason so that it can be carried over into competition phase.

  • Modify Portions
    • Track and field athletes continue to train during the competition season, but typically the duration of intensity decreases during in season. In turn, athletes should modify their portions according to their energy expenditure. For example, when tapering workouts in preparation for a big meet, athletes should slightly decrease portions of carbohydrate-based foods and increase lean protein and vegetable choices. Variety and balance are keys for competition season. Entire food group should never be eliminated because each plays a vital role in energy production and recovery.
  • Frequent Travel
    • Constant travel may sometimes present issues with choosing nutrition foods, but with some planning and preparation, it is possible to stay on track with a healthy nutrition regimen.
    • Staying on Track While on The Road:
      • Plan and pack healthy snacks for long bus trips and flights: dried fruit and nut trail mix, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna fish pouches, whole fruit, granola bars, bottled water.
      • During bus stops or layovers, choose an eatery that offers grilled/ lean meats, salads, wholesome carbohydrates, and vegetables.
      • Before departing, research restaurants close to the hotel and play which meals you will order during your stay.
    • Pre-Meet Meals:
      • The purpose of the pre-meet meal is to top off carbohydrate stores in the body for optimum energy and mental focus and to ensure the athlete is in a completely hydrated state going into competition. Even though the pre-meet meal plays a significant role in performance, it is important to understand that one nutritious pre-meet meal does not make up for poor nutrition habits throughout the week. Since every track and field athlete is unique, the timing and type of pre-meet meal may vary; but some common rules of thumb can assist all track and field athletes in optimizing their energy and performance potential:./ small amounts of food with fat and fiber.
        • Stick with simple and familiar foods that you consume during preseason. Do not m ,m.
        • Continue to hydrate normally with water and/ or electrolyte beverages.
OFF SEASON

Once the season comes to an end, athletes take advantage of some time off for rest and recovery before summer training. This time period presents the perfect opportunity to focus on modifying your nutritional habits, practicing meal preparation and learning how to cook new recipes. In addition, the offseason is when athletes can concentrate on altering body weight and composition according to individual goals.

Off season training may vary, but it usually tends to be less intense and shorter in duration. When training decreases, energy expenditure correspondingly decreases; therefore, it is important to modify portions and food choices to prevent unwanted weight gain. The focus should be more on lean sources of protein and vegetables and less on carbohydrate-based foods.