Going into the summer, there is one topic that we feel gets lost in translation but may be more important than any other thing you tell them leading into summer.
On summer vacation, your athletes won’t lift every day. They won’t run every day. They won’t jump every day. However, they will eat every day. They will drink every day.
A lot can happen in three months. Encourage your athletes to make wise decisions regarding fueling their body. There are certain principles and philosophies that are safe and effective that you can share.
Since everybody is different, and since you want to be careful to not speak out of your area of expertise, here are our basic principles for healthy living that can be shared without directly talking about nutrition.
- Don’t miss breakfast. The common saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” may seem old school, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Breakfast sets up your day, providing energy and getting the metabolism going. Eggs are good. Oats are good. Fruits are good. Pastries not so much. Skipping…even worse. Encourage athletes to be wise about their first meal of the day, not only what it is but when it is.
- Your body is two-thirds water, keep it that way. Hydration will always and forever be a point of emphasis. With hotter summer months, we can’t afford to get lazy about drinking sufficient amounts of water. Yes the basis of soda is water but it is most definitely not a substitute for water. The occasional soda is fine, kids will be kids, but water should be the main fluid consumed on a daily basis.
- It’s a question of balance. Macronutrient ratios are circumstantial and relative. Carbs, protein and fat intake can vary. Percentages aside, it is important to have a good balance. Some athletes fail to have enough quality protein and fat in their diet. Regardless of what the numbers look like, simply consider as many variable as possible and don’t have an extreme deficit of one or the other.
- Frequency is important. Encourage your athletes to snack consistently. Eating to perform looks like constantly fueling your body. How many kids, girls especially, do you know go too long without eating? A tip to maintaining frequency is planning ahead. Being prepared can be as simple as having a piece of fruit or a protein bar with you.
Nutrition is a subject that can lead to much debate, but talking about basic healthy habits with your athletes can set them up for a successful summer and healthy life. If they get their eating and water intake right their athletic performance will benefit greatly. Enjoy your summer but don’t waste it, use it wisely to set up your athletes for a successful season.