10 Rules for Sports Nutrition and Recovery
Damon Davis, Auburn University: Strength and Conditioning Specialist
1. Get 8 hours of sleep EVERY night – it is not possible to “catch up” on sleep. Great things happen when you get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night such as release of hormones that aid in recovery and rebuilding.
2. Eat breakfast upon waking – If you followed rule #1 then your body has been in a fasted state for 8 hours. To combat staying in a catabolic state get some protein and carbohydrates in your body immediately to fuel the recovery process.
3. Eat Every 2-3 hours – due to hectic schedules, practice and training this is sometime one of the hardest rules to follow, however with proper planning it can be done. Eating every 2-3 hours constantly keeps the fire fed, stops overeating and keeps blood sugar stable which leads to less fat storage.
4. Eat protein with every meal – there are numerous ways to get protein in your diet. Each athlete should consume approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight.
5. Consume a post-workout shake w/in 30 minutes – a rapidly replenish the low glycogen stores in our muscles b. rapidly decrease the muscle protein breakdown that occurs with exercise c. Rapidly force further increases in muscle protein synthesis. Accomplish this by consuming .4g carbohydrates and .2g protein per pound of bodyweight after a depleting workout, which includes practice.
6. Drink at least 1 gallon of water per day – everyone has heard the old adage that if you start drinking when you feel thirst that you are already dehydrated and performance has already decreased.
7. Avoid High Fat and Processed Foods – if it comes in a colorful and shiny package, it’s probably not the best food choice. Learn how to read food labels and use common sense. Evaluate your shopping habits or lack thereof and make changes as necessary.
8. Avoid Simple Sugars and Caffeine – simple sugars can cause you energy levels to become unstable and cause cravings. Caffeine is a stimulant that dehydrates, see rule # 6.
9. Eat 5 servings of Fruits/Vegetables every day – excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, enough said.
10. Post-Workout Stretch – assists in bringing the muscles back to resting length.