Football season is the time of year when players have prepared nearly year-round to be in peak physical shape.
This year compounds the food and fitness challenges of any normal year for players and includes:
When high intensity training plus stress comes together, strength and endurance can be compromised. For young players, add to that a new school or semester workload, the pressure of winning games, media interviews and playing the game, the breakdown will tenfold and faster if inadequate and optimal fuel and fluids are not consumed.
Therefore the nutrition goals of in season eating are to meet the energy demands of training, maintain weight and muscle mass and to consume nutrient rich foods, and to get enough fluids with adequate electrolytes at the right times to overcome dehydration and depletion.
Players want to believe their training and diet during preseason will last through season, but we know that is not the case. Training during season is individualized for each position or player goals.
Bottom line according to the coaches, “a stronger player is always going to out-do a guy who is not in shape or not strong. With every position you need to be able to beat someone to the punch whether it’s o-line, d line, tight end, defensive backs or linebackers.”.
Here are some strategies for maintaining seasonal goals.
Strategies for Maintaining in Season Football Performance Goals.
1. Know your calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat needs and meet them!
2. Plan meals and snacks in advance.
3. Get a minimum of three meals and three snacks daily.
4. Calculate fluid losses during training to prepare a hydration program to match needs.
5. Get a minimum of two, two-liter size bottles of fluid daily.
6. Keep track of your food intake with a food diary to find your weak links and share with your sports dietitian (RD,CSSD) for feedback.
7. If needed, look for Certified Safe for Sport (NSF or Informed Choice) certified dietary supplements as needed to overcome deficiencies under the advice and guidance of a health professional.
8. Sign up for a $99 4-week Next Level Nutrition program to get Performance Nutrition for Football program.
Stay tuned for Recipes for Football Players adapted from my book Performance Nutrition for Football©.