By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Molly Morgan, an Apalachin, N.Y. resident, is a nutrition consultant for professional sports teams. She offers her thoughts on the best nutrition strategy for high school football players on a monthly basis.
Eat nutrient-rich foods rather than taking supplements. The offseason is the perfect time for a player to add strength and size. To achieve that goal, a player should boost his calorie intake by adding a daily snack of milk along with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread.
Stay within the safe range of 1- to 2-pound weight gain per week. Morgan recommends that any athlete preparing to add significant weight see his physician to determine what is safe and realistic. As a rule of thumb, she recommends no more than a 1- to 2-pound increase per week.
Eat the right foods. Morgan recommends the following foods for players looking to add weight: simple shakes, smoothies, peanut butter and banana, chocolate milk, nut and dried fruit bars (i.e. KIND snacks), Greek yogurt, granola, trail mix. Stick to foods that have a mix of carbs, protein and fat.
Cool down after workouts. Stretching and foam-rolling should be a part of any player’s routine. Those post-workout routines will help an athlete avoid the type of soreness that makes it harder to lift and gain weight. Rehydrating a tired body and layering in tart cherry juice can also help reduce soreness.
Avoid bonking. Bonking can happen when an athlete is running out of fuel and glycogen (storage form of carbs) is depleted. For workouts an hour in length or longer, a sports drink might help. The dizzy feeling associated with bonking is often related to hydration.
Weigh players before and after practice. A coach should require each player to weight in before and after practice instead of guessing if each player is hydrating properly by looking at the amount a player sweats. If a player drops more than 1 percent of his body weight, he should be consuming more water.
Refuel during long workouts. Some offseason training programs include multiple elements to each practice session (i.e. weights, speed and agility). If a player is working out for over an hour, he should add carbs to keep energy levels up. Morgan recommends easily digested foods like a handful of pretzels or orange slices between sessions.
Take snack breaks during film sessions. The spring is also a great time to get players in the classroom and teach new plays/schemes. Having a snack that has carbs and protein may balance blood sugar levels and help concentration and focus.
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