Thursday, February 17, 2011

Basketball Nutrition Basics

Posted by Lee Miller | Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Category: , , , |

Elite Hoops is proud to welcome new Strength, Conditioning and Nutrition Coach Taylor Molitoris to our staff.  In addition to training under Jasper Cain or PureSpeed and Tony Villani from XPE Sports, Taylor is completing his BA in Physical Education from Kennesaw State.  He is also pursuing an ACE Personal Training certification as well as a Nutrition and Fitness advisor certification.  Taylor will be writing a weekly blog on health, nutrition and training. Check out his first blog below.

Today’s young athletes are engaging in innovative training programs that seek to improve their overall abilities.  The exercise science of the 21st century has given us new insights into the way we approach training and is constantly producing new methods.  At the same time, new information about nutrition has shed some light on the importance a solid diet has on an athlete’s performance.  Getting the essential nutrients that your body needs can help improve performance, body composition, energy levels, endurance, and longevity.  A proper diet can even affect the rate in which you recover from an injury.  There are some easy ways that you can start incorporating healthy foods into your diet right away to maximize your training results.

                The first thing to look it is the amount of calories you consume each day.  Most kids are not eating enough food every day and the foods they do eat are high in saturated fats, sodium and preservatives while low on proteins and essential nutrients.  The best way to make sure you are eating enough is to take the three basic meals of the day and break them up into 4-6 smaller meals. The idea is to feed your body every 2-3 hours to keep it in an anabolic state (state in which the body is repairing muscle tissue).  Any time we exercise we are actually maker ourselves weaker by entering a catabolic state.  This is the process of breaking down muscle during  exercise.   The time period in between work outs is when our bodies actually grow stronger muscle fibers, which leads to increased strength, speed and overall performance.  When we don’t get enough to eat in between workouts our bodies actually feed off themselves by breaking down muscle for energy.  Over time, this leads to muscle atrophy (weakening of the muscles) putting you at a greater risk for injury!

                Now, on to the types of foods you should be putting into your body.  All of the calories you eat come in the form of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.  It is important to balance the intake of these different types of calories.  For basketball players,  a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is essential.  Complex carbohydrates are broken down by the body more slowly than other carbohydrates and providing a slow, steady stream of energy throughout the day. Some examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grain foods  like oatmeal, bran, oats, wholegrain cereals, wholegrain pasta, brown rice,  potatoes, beans, and whole wheat breads.  These foods are especially important during the season and while participating in intense training programs.  Proteins should make up the next largest portion of your calories. Protein helps to repair muscle tissues and preserve lean mass.  Good sources of proteins come in foods like fish, chicken breast, eggs, lean beef, cottage cheese,  lean turkey and milk. A good rule of thumb is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.  Fats should make up the smallest portion of your calories but should definitely not be neglected! Fats are the most concentrated form of energy your body can get. Try to consume foods high in mono/polyunsaturated fats.  These are the “good fats” that are found in oils, nuts, and fish among other things. Examples are fish oil, olive oil, canola oil, almonds(nuts), peanut butter, flaxseeds, avocado and sunflower seeds. Try to balance each meal to where the majority of the calories come in the form of complex carbohydrates followed by proteins followed fats. 

          Fruits and vegetables should also be included into a high-performance diet.  Try to consume fruits during the first two meals of the day.  Examples of fruits are blueberries, bananas, apples, raisins, and oranges.  For the following meals of the day, a serving of vegetables is recommended.  Good vegetables choices include spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, salads.  Also, remember to drink plenty of water with each meal (8-16oz.) Try to avoid things like sodas, energy drinks, and other beverages containing preservatives and high fructose corn syrups.  You may also want to go to your local health store and purchase whey protein powder and complex carbohydrate powders to blend into post-workout shakes.  After exercise, your body is starving for nutrients.  A quick and easy way to help replenish your muscles is a protein/carbohydrate shake mixed with water.  It would not hurt to have a banana or apple waiting on you when you finish your training/game.  Remember, whether it is in the form of meals or small snacks, try to give your body a steady supply of nutrients throughout the day by eating every 2-3 hours, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest so that you will be ready to perform at the highest level.  

Taylor Molitoris
Strength, Conditioning and Nutrition Coach
Elite Hoops

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