Nutrition 101 Series – # 6

Important Points

Alright, now we know what we should be eating, and should not be eating, and why. Good nutrition gives you a competitive edge, both on and off the field. It’s the fuel your body and brain need to get you through the day. It supports essential body processes such as growth and repair of muscle tissue, boosts your immune system so you don’t get sick, and it helps you maintain a healthy weight.kid drinking water

In the Optimal Eating Blueprint I will address some common questions, and provide what are hopefully some helpful tips and recommendations. It consists of what I would consider some good “rules” to follow for a healthy nutritional plan, and thus giving the athlete the best opportunity to reach their potential.

Before the blueprint though, here are a couple of important points:

Hydrate!

This is probably the most important nutrition requirement, and it is the simplest. You have to drink water. Obviously the more physically active you are, the more you need to drink. 75 percent of muscle tissue is water. So it is not hard to see how critical proper hydration is to muscle growth.

Consider water the most important nutrient. Minimum fluid losses can affect physical and mental performance, and dehydration can put athletes at risk for more severe health issues. Water is used for countless metabolic processes, many of which effect recovery. From muscle repair, to protein synthesis to nutrient absorption (digestion) water and hydration levels play a huge role. To put it simply, you cannot recovery properly without adequate hydration.waterLack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Every system in your body depends on water. A mere 1% drop in body hydration is enough to impair strength, coordination and cognitive thinking.

Tired of drinking water? Water is recommended first and foremost, but at times it can get old and tiresome. I go through periods where I get tired of drinking water, primarily because of the lack of taste. You can add a squirt of lemon, a squeeze of lime, or an orange wedge. Outside of training, you can dilute a sports drink, but it is for flavor only. We want to limit the amount of sugar so at a minimum I would go half and half, but would prefer one third sports drink, two thirds water.

How much water should I be drinking?

Recommendations vary, but I would consider going a little higher due to the Arizona heat. I’m not a big calculations person, and do not really recommend drinking 10 glasses or such in a day. But at the same time, you should not just wait until you are thirsty to drink water, especially in the heat. The answer to how much you drink, in my opinion, is to just drink consistently throughout the entire day. You should be going to the bathroom quite frequently. In our heat I believe you should drink more than not enough.

A nice and easy way to calculate your daily water requirements is by taking your body weight and dividing it in half. Whatever that number is, drink between that many ounces and 20 percent fore each day. So if you are a 180-pound male athlete, you would want to drink between 90 and 125 ounces of water each day. That is drinking a 16 ounce bottle of water 5-8 times in a day. Not that bad if consumed consistently from the time you wake up.

Make sure you are drinking enough! To ensure you drink enough throughout the day, follow these tips:

  • Drink a 12 – 24 oz. bottle of water immediately after waking up, and consume it within the hour.
  • Use the rubber band method: put 4 rubber bands around your water bottle. After you finish each bottle, fill it up and remove a rubber band. At the end of the day, prior to training or game, you should have removed all rubber bands.
  • Drink one bottle of water per class period, or close to it.
  • Drink water with every meal you eat throughout the day

I often encourage that you should, for the most part, always have a purpose for what you are doing. And that purpose, by and large, should orient towards a goal. So, the first thing I would ask you is what is your athletic goals and how does it relate to your diet? Are you trying to gain weight, gain muscle mass, or lose fat or lose weight? What you want to achieve will dictate the way you should diet. Regardless, every person should have the goal of improving or maximizing their health through a well balanced and healthy diet.set goals

Why am I eating this meal?

Goals are important because they can keep us on track to achieving them. Simply ask yourself why you are eating, and you will be able to track and monitor your eating habits. Part of life is making choices, or decisions. The more choices we make that benefit us, the better chance we have of reaching our full potential.

Unfortunately the opposite is also true. If you eat because you are hungry, then you put yourself in a position to eat poorly because the goal is to satisfy the hunger. You can eat garbage, and technically you solved the problem of being hungry. But you set yourself up for a “crash” or poor muscle regeneration. If you eat “because it taste good” then you again are putting yourself in a tough spot. Most everything that is bad for you “tastes good.” Otherwise people would not eat it and eating unhealthy would not be an epidemic in our society.

Lastly, many kids often eat for the sole sake of eating. I would not have a problem with this if they were eating fruits and vegetables, but that is not generally the case. They are not hungry, yet they want to eat. They will tell you they are hungry, but as soon as you encourage them to eat nuts they change their tune. This occurs primarily at events – ball games, movies, or any activity. Food is associated with these events and they will eat everything they can get their hands on.

So again, it comes down to the choices you make. That is why it is so important to have goals. Is achieving the goal of being the best athlete you can be more important than that temporary crave for a fast food meal?

I know food is a big part of our culture, and that it can be enjoyable. What I encourage is to get in the habit of eating healthy foods and enjoy the benefits of feeling good and having mental and physical energy. It is addicting! You can become addicted to feeling natural and alive eating healthy foods, and they will eventually taste far superior than any of the sugar filled, processed and genetically modified foods out there.
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Nutrition 101 Series

1  What's Out There?
2  Fast Food Industry
3  Hormones & Energy Levels
4  What Not to Eat
5  What to Eat

6  Important Points
7  Optimal Eating Blueprint
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Supplement Series

1  To Take or Not to Take
2  Best Supplements for Athletic Performance
3  My Supplement Recommendations
4  Supplement Products That I Use and Recommend

Nutrient Timing for Optimal Performance
Post-Workout Supplementation