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.