Athletes of all ages are trying to make the line-up, be a starter and become the star of their team. It takes discipline to get there and often times even more discipline to stay there. There are a variety of factors that play into this goal such as training, sleep, recovery and definitely nutrition! Many middle school and high school athletes have forgotten one key ingredient to their training: FOOD. Food is the fuel that energizes their body, helps it build and recover and helps it jump higher and run faster. Without it, athletes cannot get to where they want to be and food is really a game changer that can take them to the next level.
Most athletes can’t and shouldn’t change everything in their diet over-night as nine times out of ten it doesn’t stick. The key is to evaluate where you are and see what changes you can make to get where you need to be. For players across the board from pee-wee to varsity, here are 5 things that are essential to eat your way into a line-up:
1. Be aware. Don’t aimlessly eat hoping you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Ask questions, look things up, see a registered dietitian, pack your food and even wrtie it down to see where you are and where you need to be going. Ask yourself, “Where can I improve or make a better choice?”
2. Have a goal: Small goals are key. Look at what you can do each day to help yourself get to where you need to be. Evaluate your daily eating and exercise decisions and see if they are pointing you in the right direction of your goal. Did you get enough protein today? Was carbohydrate present at all of your meals? Did you hydrate throughout the entire day?
3. Don’t deprive yourself: Everyone has to have a little pleasure in eating or you will not stick with it. Even if you are trying to reach a goal, allow yourself to splurge a meal or two a week. The key is don’t go overboard. Eat what you want, not everything you have ever wanted.
4. Don’t compare: You do you! Don’t look at what others are doing, eating, ruuning, etc. Focus on your eating and your training to get to the best you. Everyone has individual nutrient and hydration needs so figure out what is best for you is best to help you get to your goal!
5. Be consistent: Anyone can do anything for a short period of time. The true test is can you stick it out to reach your goal? Be consistent. Create and maintain habits that you can do daily. You don’t have to look weeks ahead, look at today and be consistent today.
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Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSDD, LD is a sports dietitian in the DFW area. She has worked with Texas Christian University Athletics, the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Dallas Soccer, Jim McLean Golf School and many PGA Tour players as well as with many middle school, high school and endurance athletes. Amy speaks at a variety of nutrition, athletic training and coaching conferences. She is an ambassador/spokesperson for the National Dairy Council, a Dairy Max Health and Wellness Advisory Council member and on the Speakers Bureau for Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Amy is also the co-author of “Swim, Bike, Run – Eat,” a sports nutrition book for triathletes.
Amy received her Bachelor of Science in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Master of Science in exercise and sports nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She is also a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.
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