By Molly Morgan, Nutrition Consultant for Pro Sports Teams
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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