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Nutrition Trouble Shooting Guide for Young Athletes, Part 1

We’ve taken our most commonly asked questions and given you easy to find answers!  Here’s what we cover in this post:

  • What Should I Drink at Practice?
  • How Much Should I drink at Practice?
  • How Much Water Should I Drink During the day?
  • What should I eat if I want to become more flexible?
  • What should I eat when I have injury, ache, or pain?

What Should I Drink at Practice?

Simple!: Mostly water during the day and Powerade at Practice.

Any time practice is over 2 hours in length, a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage such as Powerade or Gatorade (or home-made alternative) is a must. These beverages are more efficiently absorbed during a workout than plain water. This way the fluid can get to the muscles where it is needed.

Having a 0 calorie drink is no different than drinking plain water.

How Much Should I drink at Practice?

Must studies on drinking fluid at practice state that bodily mature athletes need 16 fl oz of liquid every hour during practice.  This is a guideline.

It’s also been shown for athletes that do intermittent work (think football, gymnastics, baseball, basketball), switching from plain water to a carbohydrate drink (gatorade or an all natural half water/half apple juice mixture) can increase the ability to do work by 33%.  That’s HUGE!

If your athlete has not yet reached body maturity, you can scale the 16 fl oz to fit their needs.

It may take an athlete’s body a couple of weeks to adjust to the increase in fluid, so it is best to start slow and work up to your optimal hydration goal.

When an athlete is properly hydrated, you will see a huge difference on and off the field!

How Much Water Should I Drink During the day?

Again, it is not a perfect science, but a 5’ tall 120 lbs athlete should drink at least one whole gallon of fluid per day in addition to practice drinks.

A 4’6” tall 80 lbs athlete should drink at least 2/3 of a gallon per day.

Fluid should come mostly from plain water during non-practice hours, but juice, milk, and soups count too. Help your athlete to track his or her intake every few days to make sure he or she is on the right track.

What should I eat if I want to become more flexible?

Hydration is the most important aspect of nutrition for flexibility in young (or old) athletes.

Dry muscles are like a dry sponge. They are brittle and resist stretching. Hydrated muscles stretch like taffy!

Make sure to drink water when you first wake up, all day at school, between classes, before gym, with every meal, and right before you go to bed.

Your muscles will thank you and your flexibility will show it!

What should I eat when I have injury, ache, or pain?

Stay well hydrated and concentrate on foods containing Omega 3’s, vitamin E, and Vitamin C. Nuts, oils, and fish contain large amounts of Omega 3’s and Vitamin E. Fresh fruits and veggies like strawberries, oranges, Kiwi, cantaloupe, and green peppers contain Vitamin C.

These foods, in conjunction, will decrease inflammation and promote healing.

Be sure to notify your coach or trainer of any possible injury.

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Nutrition Trouble Shooting Guide for Young Athletes, Part 2

Here is our second installment of our troubleshooting guide.  Here’s what’s inside:

  • What if I feel hungry in the middle of the night?
  • What if I get a headache?
  • Is it ok to drink juice on this plan?
  • What should I eat when I feel sore?

What if I feel hungry in the middle of the night?

Interrupted sleep prevents the muscles from repairing. Athletes should not wake up during the night feeling hungry. This is a red flag that they are not getting enough nutrients during the day. To prevent the midnight munchies, the athlete will need to eat more at dinner time or add a late-night snack right before bed. This should help curb the appetite of your athlete at night.

What if I get a headache?

The most common reason for head ache in athletes is being under hydrated. If you feel a headache coming on, drink a full glass of water and have a couple crackers or light carbohydrate snack. The carbohydrates help the water “stick” in your muscles where is can be used. Make sure to increase your water intake consistently over the next 24 hours to keep it at bay. Frequent headaches are a signal you probably need to concentrate on your hydration more regularly and if they continue despite your increase of liquids, seek help from your primary care physician immediately.

Is it ok to drink juice on this plan?

100% natural juice is a fine addition to an athlete’s diet for several reasons:

•Great source of antioxidants
•High in Vitamin C, which aids in tendon/muscle recovery
•Encourages athletes to drink more fluids because it tastes great!

Deeply colored juices tend to be higher in antioxidants so try choosing berry, grape, or cranberry juices most often.  Apple and Orange juices are great juice choices as well.

A reasonable serving of Juice for an athlete is ½-1 cup with a meal or snack.

Athletes should concentrate on their water intake as well. Too much juice when an athlete should be drinking water can also be of concern. Try to get most of your liquid from water, but supplement it daily with a great juice selection to get the above benefits.

What should I eat when I feel sore?

If you are sore, it probably means you had a great workout recently! The best way to help the muscles get back to normal is to drink up to stay hydrated and remember to eat your protein. Peanut butter, eggs, nuts, fish, and steak are great sources of protein. When the muscles have the water and building blocks they need, they are able to repair very quickly.

Along with that, compression can help eliminate soreness, or even keep it from happening in the first place. Try this solution we link to. We’ve used these and have found them an incredible resource for athletes that like to push it to the max! Click here to find out more:  Compression clothing for athletes

So, once again, thank you for checking out our troubleshooting guide. If you have any questions, please make sure to contact us at support@stayfueled.com.

 

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