Want an adge on the football field? Of course you do. Every player wants some kind of edge. Why else would so many resort to taking performance enhancing drugs?
But I’m willing to bet most players could get a decent edge over the competition by just eating right.
Heading into the 2011 season, 13 of the schools in the preseason Top 25 poll had a full-time sports registered dietician; five of the them had two.
I like the Professional Football Academy’s explanation of the importance of proper diet for ball players:
Maintaining a good diet doesn’t ensure good performance during a match/practice, but it will improve the potential to reach a maximum level of performance.
Yeah, I know, the Professional Football Academy deals with the “other” football (soccer), but I’m sure that fact applies to “both” sports!
A few days ago, I was doing research on how to eat right as a football player. I found a few of the articles I read interesting, and thought I’d share them, and talk about them a little bit.
If you want to take a look at the articles for yourself, here’s the links to them:
Note: Before changing your diet, please consult a physician. On top of that, each athlete has their own goals and body types, so to get a diet that works best for you, contact a sports registered dietician. This post “is not” meant to be a one size fits all guide to nutrition for football.
Here are some of the things I read in these articles that stood out to me.
Carbohydrates – Two-Thirds of Your Meal
Sometimes it seems like there’s a million different opinions out there on what it means to eat right.
One thing I noticed most authorities agreed on, is that football players need to eat a lot of carbs.
In Football Players’ Diet Plans, Michael Baker explains why carbs are so important, and he even gives you some examples of some carbohydrate food sources:
The bulk of a football player’s diet should be carbohydrates, which fuel muscles. In general, carbohydrate sources such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta or vegetables should make up about two-thirds of every meal, according to Pittsburgh Medical Center director of sports nutrition Leslie Bonci.
So, two-thirds of your plate should be filled with carbs. In What Kind of Carbs for Football?, Lesli Bonci, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says that football players should consume 2.7 grams of carbs per pound.
So if you weigh 205 lbs, you should consume about 554 grams of carbs per day.
From the way I comprehended her message, she’s saying that 2.7 grams per pound should be sufficient for your offseason workouts, but you want to increase it to 3.6 to 4.5 grams per pound when you’re in fall training camp, or going through two-a-days.
Protein – The Last Third of Your Meal
I found it interesting that two of the articles I looked at mentioned that football players tend to consume way too much protein.
I think I was guilty of that, too, back when I played.
Let’s be honest; as football players, most of us are conditioned to want to be as big as possible. Being that it’s no secret that protein aids the growth of our muscles, it’s not hard to believe that many players consume just way too much of it.
Believe it or not, eating too much protein can lead to some serious health issues.
Too much protein will mess you up from a performance perspective, too. Excess protein will turn into fat, and it can dehydrate you too, which is terrible for your training sessions or practice performances.
So, according to Bonci, with two-thirds of your meal consisting of carbs, the remaining third should be protein.
…each meal should be two-thirds carbohydrate and one-third protein, with the emphasis on moderate fat. Each meal should look like a peace sign, with one-third of the plate as protein (red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, dried beans, nuts, soy products), one-third as a starch (rice, pasta, potato) and one-third as fruits and vegetables.
OK guys, I got a little long-winded, so I’m gonna have to finish up this talk in a part 2, coming soon.
In the meantime, check out Ndamukong Suh, as he shares with us the importance of eating right as a football player.
Follow me on Twitter! @alvingrier