Teen Athletes

Teen Athletes

Teen Athletes’ Nutrition: Getting started on the right foot

To become a top competitor in any sport you need to have an edge over your competition. A lot of factors play into developing that edge: individualized nutrition, intensive practice, restful sleep, proper recovery, and stress management, to name a few. Let’s talk about the individualized nutrition factor first.

1. Find out how much daily protein you need as an athlete. The easy rule-of-thumb is your weight in pounds divided in half. For example, a 16-year old girl volleyball player weighing 130 pounds needs about 65g of protein a day. Boys need slightly larger amounts of protein due to their different body composition. However, for best results in terms of muscle development, you need to consult a trained nutritionist who could measure the exact amount of protein needed to reach your specific goals based on your age, size (not just height), activity level, genetic profile, and gut absorption rate!
The best time to have a high-protein meal is within half an hour of finishing a workout. The best kinds of proteins are the lean kind—that is, white chicken or turkey breast, 85% fat-free beef patties, or an egg white omelette (made with 4-5 egg whites and one yolk) or tuna in water. There are also good plant-based sources, such as edamame (baked or raw), roasted soybean nuts, hemp seed, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.

2. Know your carbs — There are two types of carbohydrates. One is the simple kind that breaks down within minutes, including cereals, pizza, white pasta, candy, cookie, chips, candy bars, and other processed foods.
The other is the more complex kind, including wholesome grains such as brown rice pasta or crackers, whole grain cereals (such as granola, amaranth, millet, puffed brown rice, etc.), and quinoa-based foods. For a more even blood sugar, always go for the complex carbs. Sweet watery fruits like grapes and oranges are also very useful in small quantities before games and on breaks.

3. It’s important not to cut yourself off from natural sugar completely, because natural fruit sugar (fructose) gives quick, clean energy while quenching athlete’s thirst to keep going for up to an hour.

4. The best fats for an athlete are those fats found in raw nuts, raw nut bars, raw seeds, unsweetened coconut products, avocados, and omega-3 rich fish (wild salmon, trout, etc.) The best time to have nuts & nut bars & coconut snacks is during breaks or any time after a workout or game. The best time to eat heavier fats like salmon is after practice or a game as you need 4-5 hours to digest it!

This article would not be complete without stressing the importance of proper recovery time. Many coaches agree that the problem with over-stressed athletes is not overtraining, but rather under-recovering. Perhaps the best way to recover from a long practice or game is to allow a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. I recognize that for a young teen athlete, it’s challenging to manage schoolwork, practice, conditioning, studies, and social life but with proper time management skills, this can be done. For example, when a teen athlete gets home, it’s better to allow a specific amount of time—let’s say 50 minutes—to each subject, with decent breaks in between, rather than getting home, taking a long break before starting homework, and then ending up working until 2 A.M. The basic consequences of continuing physical work without proper recovery time could be over exhaustion, high anxiety, stress fractures, sprained ankles or shoulders, muscle ache, and even depression.

For a more individualized consultation about the right diet to complement your training regimen,
contact Faye Elahi at (214) 437-1297.

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Klean Athlete Multivitamin 60 Tablet

Klean Athlete Multivitamin 60 Tablet

A powerhouse multivitamin for athletes by Klean Athlete.
$38.00
NutriBiotic Raw Organic Rice Protein (Vanilla)

NutriBiotic Raw Organic Rice Protein (Vanilla)

Vegan, gluten-free, fat-free protein powder with vanilla flavor.
$24.00
Quell Fish Oil 30 Capsule

Quell Fish Oil 30 Capsule

30-capusle bottle of Quell Fish Oil EPA/DHA Plus D
$30.00
Quell Fish Oil 60 Capsule

Quell Fish Oil 60 Capsule

60-capsule bottle of Quell Fish Oil EPA/DHA Plus D
$50.00
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  • My Physician had recommended I consult with Faye in 2006, but I did not make up my mind I needed to change my life to control my weight until mid 2007. I decided to take his advice and made an appointment. My goals were to get to my ideal weight by the end of 2008 and to improve my overall nutritional habits. While I am still working on both of those goals, I have had a few surprises along the way.
    Debbi
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