Whether it’s American Football or International Football, (soccer), many of the principles of football nutrition can also benefit those who do not play sports but may play other sports, recreational activities, or just exercise I general.
Often my clients and patients think since they do not consider themselves ‘competitive athletes’ that they do not need to follow similar nutrition tips that athletes down. However, as we promote everyone to have a more active lifestyle that includes physical activities the following tips are simple and will benefit everyone.
1. Eat for What You Do
When working with my athletes and clients I look at what type of physical exercise and activities they are involved in and how many times a week they participate in those activities. I also look at not only what sport they play but what is there position. I then have them complete a food journal which tells me what foods they are eating, how much and when they are consuming them.
From there adjustments are made. Some people require more carbohydrates if participating in high intensity or endurance activities. Other may need less carbohydrates and more protein if they are doing shorter distance or time activities such as weight lifting, etc. Eating the same thing your neighbor or family member may not be the most appropriate for you and can affect your health and exercise efficiency.
2. Eat Enough Calories
Quite often I find my athletes and clients are not eating enough calories to have enough energy and recovery from their activities or sport. Eating too low amounts of calories can actually cause you to gain weight. If restricting calories during the day, some people overeat when they do have a meal.
Overeating causes highs and lows in the blood sugar, and can make one feel sluggish or low energy either because they do not have enough calories or they are full from eating. Another consideration is calorie restriction can cause the body’s metabolism to slow down burning calories at a slower rate. This is because there is not enough ‘food energy’ for the body to burn.
3. Eat 5 – 6 times throughout the day
I hesitate to call them meals since there are different ideas of what a meal actual is. This will help keep energy levels and blood sugar levels more consistent throughout the day rather than having the peaks and valleys which can effect physical and mental performance.
For example: start the day with a good breakfast, mid-morning have a piece of fruit and yogurt, followed by lunch in a couple of hours, mid-afternoon have another piece of fruit, or handful of peanuts or vegie slices, then a good dinner and if needed a small snack of fruit or glass of milk before bed. This will also help you keep from overeating at large meals.
4. Eat Food NOT Supplements
I see this way too often where more supplement powders, shakes, or bars are consumed that regular fruits, veggies, poultry. Supplements are to ‘supplement’ your food not replace it. Doing so restricts the body of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals from food and can create the roller coaster of weight gain and loss of energy.
5. Eat a variety of foods
Eating a variety of food means you will receive different combinations of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will work together to address the needs and functions of the body. Eat just certain types of food or the same foods and you are missing out on the benefits of others and limiting yourself to the contents of just those foods.
6. Drink Water
I know you have heard this before but it continues to be an issue especially with all the fruit juices, sports drinks and specialty waters out there now. Remember they are trying to sell a product and while some of them are good you need to drink just plain water.
Drinking water helps with digestion, circulation, joint and spinal function, mental alertness, defends against infections and illnesses, and even having healthy and glowing skin.
Follow these tips and you will notice you will have more energy. Sleep will improve. Mental focus and mental energy will improve. Your weight goals will be easier to achieve and maintain.
You will perform better no matter what sport or activities you do. You will prevent injuries and sicknesses. You will have just a general overall better feeling inside and out. What do you have to lose? Just feeling better and being a better you!!!