Performing athletes regardless of age are looking for three important things: strength, agility and endurance. To enhance performance and increase endurance, proper nutrition of the teenage athlete is essential.
At the high school level, proper nutrition must begin at home. The athlete is too busy at school to plan properly. Because proper nutrition begins at home it has to involve the parents. In that light, this is an article that all parents of athletes should read.
On game day everything is even more hectic than normal, and this calls for even more planning. Number one is drinking enough water, to reduce the chance of dehydration. Number two is the correct diet, to help keep energy high and regulate the athlete’s blood sugar. The strenuous nature of athletic performance demands an increased output of energy, and requires a good supply of proteins.
Game time is only a small fraction of the time an athlete spends exerting high amounts of energy. For every hour of game time, an athlete puts in several hours of practice. It is just as important to prepare the body for practice as it is for a game.
The athlete should always prepare for a game or for practice by hydrating his or her body. Athletes should also eat a small meal consisting of carbohydrates to provide adequate fuel for extra energy, which will keep the stomach close to empty. You don’t want too much in your stomach as this could cause mild or even severe stomach discomfort.
Males should drink 16 oz of a low sugar sports drink high in trace minerals, which are lost through sweating, and eat a protein bar. During a workout or a game, the athlete still needs to be replacing lost electrolytes and prevent dehydration and muscle fatigue.
After a workout or game, an athlete enters a recovery period where the muscle tissue is repaired. At this time an athlete needs more protein and more liquids. It is easy to have lactic acid buildup after a workout, so it important that the athlete provide the body with the proper nutrients to heal the body with maximum speed.
For proper bodily function it is very important that the body stays in a hydrated state. For better overall health it is imperative that an athlete be aware of the importance of properly taking care of their body immediately after a strenuous physical workout.
It is recommended to consume protein products immediately after a workout, and again after two more hours have elapsed. Continue to drink a hydrating sports drink, or water, until your thirst is quenched.