BY COACH PAUL TREMLIN
There’s a saying in the performance world that goes like this,
“Train like an athlete, EAT LIKE A NUTRITIONIST, sleep like a baby.”
For a top performance athlete those three elements go hand-in-hand. The culture of athletes we train with on a daily basis understand the value of training. Many athletes can easily grasp the fact that taking an extra 200 swings before bed will aid in gaining repetition and lead to muscle memory. Where those athletes might lack is in their understanding on the impact that sleep and healthy nutrition have on their training. For information on how important sleep is for athletes, check out Crossfit Collinsville Coach Jen Doehring’s article, “Is sleep affecting your workouts?”
If athletes do not have good sleep habits and are not fueling their bodies properly with healthy nutrition, then all the training in the world is not going to allow those athletes to maximize their training to reach their fullest potential. Period. So here’s a question for everyone reading this, “Do youth and high school athletes have a grasp on how to utilize healthy nutrition to maximize their training potential to become top performance athletes?”
Something to think about.
Once athletes recognize that they do not utilize healthy nutrition to complement their training, their question is always, “Where do we start then?” For the sake of this article, let us put our focus on getting athletes to avoid certain foods that are associated with poor nutrition. Links will be provided for you to gather more information on each food listed below.
As Dave Dameshek would say, “Let it begin!”
# 1 Artificially Sweetened Drinks
We already know that soda is terrible for our health, but add artificial sweeteners to it (diet sodas) and we just made something that’s bad, worse. Artificial sweeteners offer no nutritional benefits, cause health issues and weight gain. If your athlete consumed diet sodas or energy drinks with artific-ial sweeteners on a daily basis, get them to STOP NOW!
#2 Sugary Cereals
Breakfast is a big area that athletes struggle in. Most either have a quick bowl of cereal with high amounts of sugar or nothing at all (which is a whole other topic!). Not only are sugary cereals filled with empty carbs, but they also lack protein and (you guessed it) have a high amount of sugar that spikes the body’s blood sugar levels. This is a recipe for weight gain and not the good kind athletes are looking!
#3 White Bread
White bread is processed in a way that totally strips any nutritional value bread is supposed to have. According to Livestrong.com, “(White bread) is made of refined grain that is created when a whole grain is finely ground and stripped of its bran and germ, the elements that contain natural fiber, vitamins and minerals.”
#4 Canned Goods
Canned goods are loaded with the following: Bisphenol or BPA (which are plastic contaminants), preservatives, leaking aluminum, and low quality of food.
#5 Fried Foods
This is an obvious pick, however we still see athletes consuming fried foods in the facility on a daily basis. We need to think of fried foods like the way we think of putting fuel into our car. Eating fried foods is comparable to putting poor quality gasoline into our cars, which will have a negative impact on our car’s performance. The same principle applies to the food athletes consume into their bodies.
We live in a culture of food on the go, highly-processed foods, GMO’s, BPA, MSG, and artificial sweeteners. For athletes to maximize their training to reach their fullest potential, we have to understand that training is 20% of the work it takes to become a top performance athlete. The rest is proper sleep habits and what ends up on the plate.