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THE RIGHT FUEL: TEEN ATHLETE NUTRITION
By: Kristen Wood & Corry Matthews
Proper nutrition can mean all the difference between winning and losing for teen athletes.
Attention Parents: Is your teenage son or daughter one of the majority of student athletes who are undernourished despite all they eat? If they eat the “typical kid” diet (whether the foods are healthy or not), our work at Max Muscle with more than 6,000 high school athletes tells us the likely answer is yes! How is it possible, you might ask yourself, that my child could be undernourished? He/she eats healthy foods and is eating way more than I do. But the truth is that more than 90 percent of the student athletes we work with meet the classic definition of being undernourished, meaning that they are not eating enough calories from a balanced diet for their bodies to get the right amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients necessary not only for optimal performance, but also necessary for optimum growth and development.
Attention Teen Athletes: Are you working out extremely hard in the weight room or on the field and just not seeing great results? Do you feel frustrated because you’re following your coach’s advice, being dedicated and just not seeing the improvement you expect? The great news is that the answer is simple and can make things much easier on your body. As the athletes who get their nutrition right and work with our certified staff at Max Muscle can tell you, they are gaining more than 2 pounds of muscle per week, every week, while losing excess body fat or gaining needed body fat. The method is simple: eat to FUEL your body!
Why is nutrition so important? According to Lucho Crisalle, RD, CEO of Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc., more than 85 percent of your results in the weight room or on the field is determined not by how hard you work out, but by how you choose to fuel your body! Please read that again: More than 85 percent of your results in the weight room or on the field is determined not by how hard you work out, but by how you choose to fuel your body!
Nutrition is responsible for:
During our interview with Lucho Crisalle, he said he named his company Exercise AND Nutrition Works, Inc. because he noticed that one without the other will only yield limited results. He has trained and coached thousands of professional athletes and nutritionists worldwide and the one common denominator is that if one of the two components is off (exercise or nutrition), the results are compromised. It is only through the combination of the RIGHT nutrition for your type of exercise that you will get the results you want, guaranteed, every time.
We ourselves have collected information from thousands of student athletes about their diets, and we have discovered that the vast majority eat about one-third to one-half of the calories they are burning on a given day. The typical athlete is eating 1,000-2,500 calories less than what they need per day, cheating their bodies out of the fuel needed to build muscle, blast fat and repair muscle tissue that has been broken down due to athletic activities. In the sports world, we classify this as being in a constantly catabolic state (one where your body is breaking down – instead of building up – muscle and connective tissues). This sets the stage for injury and also serves as a leading cause for tiredness, poor concentration and a lack of improvement in muscle, speed, agility, scholastic performance – and the list goes on!
Let’s start with the simplest way to make immediate gains: eat breakfast and have a post workout recovery meal.
Why eat breakfast?
Your body is in repair mode all night long, building muscles, bones, tissues, blood cells, etc. So in the morning you need to refuel in order to keep this process going. And before you say, “I’m not a breakfast eater,” we will say, “Oh, you eat breakfast. Well, your body does. Because when you choose not to eat, your body will just break down more lean muscle tissue to feed itself.” So, you can choose what to eat or your body will choose. What would you rather have? If you’re like most athletes who realize how damaging it is to lose muscle to start the day, you can check out this great breakfast option:
If you have no time to cook, have a shake instead made with 12 ounces of milk, ½ banana, ½ cup strawberries or any frozen berry, 1 serving of protein powder and ½ cup of ice. Tips: If you are trying to gain weight, choose a weight gainer protein and whole milk; if you are trying to lose weight, aim for a low-carb protein shake and choose skim milk or water instead and only use half the amount
If you are skipping this step, you are seriously limiting your athletic potential. In the first hour after your workout, your muscles are really ready to absorb nutrients for repair – they are basically screaming at you to feed them! So, what do you need to eat?
Student-Athlete Nutritional Do’s:
Now, let’s talk briefly about the type of foods you are eating. Think of your body as the best sports car in the world. What kind of fuel would you use? Would you fill that sports car up on something out of some random oil drum? No, you would give it only the best, right? And your body deserves the same treatment.
Remember that you can always buy and replace parts in any sports car. Your body is a different story, you have the “parts” you were given for a lifetime, and how you decide to take care of them now will determine the quality of life you will have now and into the future. Your body deserves the best treatment; it’s the only one you have.
Although there is room for everything to be enjoyed in moderation, prepare your protein by grilling, baking or broiling and steam your veggies or eat them raw! The cleaner your food, the better your performance will be. Always avoid mucking up your food with heavy greases, oils, dips and junk!
What Happens When You Eat to Fuel Your BODY?
Miracles happen. Truly. At Max Muscle in Virginia, we are currently working with a number of area high school football and basketball teams, weighing them in monthly, providing free nutrition education and working with parents and coaches to find optimal foods to fuel student athletes’ bodies. What has transpired in these schools has been astonishing. We are seeing that the student athletes who commit to eating the right foods at the right times are gaining lean mass significantly faster than those who aren’t, and that this additional muscle is translating to strength gains in the weight room and speed on the field.
Perhaps most importantly, the additional food is also supporting academic performance. In one area high school earlier this year, for example, 89 out of 90 students reported that they were better able to focus in class, stay awake and alert in school, and faced fewer challenges with their homework after changing their eating plans.
So, it’s your choice. We at Max Muscle Sports Nutrition are here to help should you choose to pick up this potent weapon and become an even more dominant force on the field and in school. Stop by your local store or call them to schedule YOUR free nutrition consultation and get on the fast track to success on and off the field. MS&F
STUDENT ATHLETE DIET COMPARISON
Typical Teen Athlete Diet:
Breakfast (maybe; or no breakfast at all…)
Cereal with milk, banana, toast (500 calories)
Turkey/ham sandwich, chips, cookies, soda or juice (650 calories)
PRACTICE 3:45 – 6:00 p.m.
Large chicken breast, rice, veggies, salad (700 calories)
TOTAL CALORIES: 1,850
Teen Athlete Working with a Max Muscle Diet
2 cups oatmeal, 2 cups milk, 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites, a serving of fruit (750 calories)
Athlete's Choice Pro 360 protein with milk (600 calories)
2 Sandwich with protein, vegetables or dinner leftovers (700 calories)
Athlete's Choice Pro 360 with milk (600 calories)
Another snack, depending on sport and time of practice
PRACTICE 3:45 – 6:00 p.m.
8-12 oz. of lean meat, vegetables, carbohydrates (whole grains, rice, pasta) (700 calories)
Cereal and milk, peanut butter and jelly (250-400 calories)
TOTAL CALORIES: 3,750 calories