We’ve all heard the quote, gains are made 1% in the gym and 99% in the kitchen. What athletes put in their bodies will greatly dictate their success in their respective sports. Food is such an important aspect for college athletes and it is something that must be taken with utmost sincerity and importance.
Whether you are currently a high school athlete looking to make it into the NCAAF or you are just a fan of the NCAAF and tracking NCAAF odds, you can learn a lot by reading ahead.
What Are Your Personal Needs?
Sports nutrition can vary position by position, especially in the NCAAF. There are many different football positions and almost every position has different nutritional needs. For instance, a lineman weighs much more than a cornerback so his dietary needs will consist of many more calories, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats than a cornerback.
If you are looking to find the nutrition you need, find a reliable nutrition calculator on the internet. Enter your height, body weight, activity levels (high for college athletes), and your age. This should spew out your nutritional needs in regard to your specific body composition.
What is a Generally Healthy Plate?
You may remember from your days in elementary, middle, or high school when you saw the charts that showed you a perfect plate. These diagrams were very accurate in regards to the general human. They claimed that ¼ of your plate should include a lean protein, ½ should be colorful fruits and veggies, ¼ should be a whole grain like rice or bread, and then also 3 servings of dairy a day.
What is an Athletic Diet?
This is very general and is not specific to an athlete. Athletes should be looking to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Protein is the single most important macronutrient that aids in protein synthesis which then leads to muscle growth. Athletes must make sure they get their protein in throughout the day. Some great protein sources include chicken breast, eggs, fish, and some plant-based options are lentils, soy, and nuts.
Furthermore, carbohydrates are key for athletes as well. Carbohydrates are what provide the body with short-term energy. So athletes who are working out a lot and are constantly exerting their bodies must consume carbohydrates for energy. Some healthy carbohydrate sources include but are not limited to potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole pasta.
And finally, athletes must consume enough fats throughout the day to make sure they have those long-term energy stores once they deplete their carb storage. Remember, fats are very calorically dense so consider that when consuming them. Some great fat sources include almonds, olive oil, and fish.
What to Stay Away From?
There are some very important foods and ingredients that athletes must stay away from for prime energy, focus, and performance. The first is extremely processed sugars. Foods like cakes, cookies, sodas, sugary cereals, pastries, and other desserts are extremely processed, contain high sugar content, and will make you feel terrible.
Furthermore, if you are trying to keep your calories low to reduce body fat, you should look to avoid foods that are super high in calories such as olive oil, fatty meats, and nuts. These foods are highly calorically dense and do not fill you up to meet your nutritional needs. And conversely, those looking to keep their calories high to increase body fat, should consume highly calorically dense foods but not through poor food choices like fast food.
College athletes must consume a very healthy diet to make sure their performance is at a high level. First, you must look to find your caloric and macronutrient needs based on your goals. Once you find those, look to find ingredients and foods that best complement your dietary needs.
In addition to all these macronutrients, do not forget your micronutrients. Make sure to consume fruits, veggies, and/or supplements. Vitamins are a surefire way to consume your micronutrient needs.
Review Recommended Diet for NCAAF Players.