Recovery Resource from US Soccer Federation: Nutrition USSF
As sports science continually evolves, one of the most important areas of a players well-being is their nutrition. To be a high performing athlete you need to fuel your body with the nutrients needed for energy. A healthy diet will give the athlete the extra edge in their performance, and can be the difference with sch fine margins at the highest level.
The following information will help with understanding the nutritional demands of an athlete, and how a healthy habit of eating clean and nutritious foods will enhance sports performance.
Tips to a Healthier Diet
Don’t be afraid of the word diet, this doesn’t mean you can’t eat food and you’re restricted to a certain number of calories. A diet plan is for nutritional intake where you eat for a purpose. This can mean increasing calories for growth, limiting calories for weight loss, or adjusting your nutritional intake to balance your macros and to eat at specific times for optimal performance.
- Know what’s in your food, read the ingredient label. The list is in order of quantity.
- Check the sugar content, rule of thumb is 5g per 100g is enough sugar.
- Make sure to eat at important times, morning, pre and post exercise, before bed (to aid recovery and growth).
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Have plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid eating out, cook at home so you know what’s in your food.
Use our Fremont YSC Nutrition Log to reflect on your eating habits – Dietary Habits and Reflection
The Best Foods for Athletes
The following article is through the New York Times, and includes an interview with Louise Burke, professor at Australian Catholic University. Louise has worked with many of Australia’s elite sporting teams.
Dehydration and performance
It’s important to first understand some key exercise and hydration basics.
Sweat cools... Healthy young athletes have a built-in cooling system that kicks in during vigorous exercise in hot conditions. We know it as sweat. When sweat evaporates from the skin it helps to cool the body.
… but sweat also dehydrates. Sweat uses up some of the body’s water. Studies show that during prolonged exercise in the heat, many athletes sweat more than they replace in fluids. However, predicting how much a particular athlete will sweat—and how much fluid an athlete should replace during exercise—is difficult.
“Sweat rates vary considerably among individual athletes, even in identical settings,” explains Eichner. “In some young athletes who exercise hard in the heat, sweat rates can exceed two liters per hour.”
Dehydration during exercise can impair athletic performance… and increases other risks. During extended exercise in hot conditions, dehydration amounting to more than 2 to 3 percent of an athlete’s body weight can hurt athletic performance in aerobic exercise and sports in which aerobic performance is critical, such as rowing, cycling, sprinting, soccer and basketball.
Dehydration can also contribute to heat illness, life-threatening overheating (known as exertional heatstroke) or debilitating heat cramps. (We will cover these topics in future articles.)
Stanford Medical provides this excellent resource to support the players and parents in understanding dehydration, and importantly what you can do to stay hydrated: Sports Hydration