When we think of strength and power activities we also need to think about proper nutritional intake. Every athlete needs to focus highly on their diet in order to perform within their expectations. It is a very important part of performance enhancement and recovery. Dieting can easily become complicated when overthought, however, generally speaking, having tight control over your macronutrients is key. High performing athletes should always make sure that 55-60% of their daily energy intake are clean carbohydrates, 15% from animal derived proteins and 25-30% from clean fat intake. These percentages can be distributed throughout the day by frequent meal servings and snacks in between meals.
Carbohydrates are the number one source of energy in the body, which is why the quality of which one’s you are eating is so important. When dieting, always try to focus on eating less processed sugars and heavily starchy foods. Try to substitute more fruits, vegetables, or whole grains in big portions to help curb cravings. Blood glucose levels are important for better performance in the gym and on the field, so try having some fruits or mineral induced drinks about an hour before exercising instead of drinking caffeine or sugar. Athletes that want to gain weight should focus on a caloric surplus: intaking more than you’re expending in energy. If losing weight is your goal, you’d want to be in a caloric deficit: expending more energy than you’re intaking. But remember - don’t starve yourself!
Proteins, formed by amino acids, are the building blocks of the body. Therefore, proper protein intake leads to faster recovery and better gains. When dieting, focus on getting proteins derived from animals/dairy products. For athletes with different lifestyles who focus on plant based proteins, supplementation may help with getting more complete proteins: proteins that carry more essential amino acids. When training, the timing of protein intake is very important. Having a light source of protein 30 minutes before and after exercising will help with proper muscle growth and recovery. Athletes that have hypertrophy goals should be very wary of their protein intake timing and serving size (0.9 - 1.8g of protein per pound of body weight), however, for strength maintenance and recovery, about 0.7 - 0.9g of protein per pound of body weight post training is recommended.
Lastly, fats, also known as the energy storer, are very important for the body. Fats are broken down into three types (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated). Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oils, peanut oils, and avocados. Although labeled as fats, these fats are considered healthy for intake up to about 15% on a daily caloric scale. Polyunsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, salmon, tuna, and corn. They can be great options to implement into your diet up to about 15% on a daily caloric scale. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as dairy, beef, and poultry. Generally speaking, saturated fats are most likely to be naturally in your diet. However, it’s only recommended to have up to about 10% of these kinds of fats on a daily caloric scale.
Now, there is one more type of fat that all populations should be wary of… and that’s the big ol trans fat. Everyone loves trans fats. The packaged cookies and chips, candy, fried food, fast food, huhh love it!!! BUT, stay away from it!!! Unless you want a first class ticket to diabetes, cholesterol, or other chronic diseases later on in life.
Coach Andy Louis and Coach Katie Sailer