Sports nutrition is a very important part of an athletes’ training regiment. Unfortunately most athletes, especially young athletes, think quantity is the answer to improving performance. So many athletes invest in their training by increasing calories (many unhealthy) while mortgaging their performance and long-term health (increasing their fat mass).
True, when an athlete trains there is a possible need for extra calories to help facilitate the effects from training. However most athletes go well beyond their caloric need and consume too many calories. More times than not, athletes consume foods from unhealthy source like fast food or take in large quantities of calories from protein supplements through shakes, pills and/or bars. Athletes consume these extra calories, thinking the added consumptions will increase strength and produce productive weight gains. Most of these extra calories are converted to fat – fat weight is not productive. Regardless of the form of food/substrate intake, if the calories go beyond that which is truly required by the body, those calories will be convert to triglycerides in the liver and stored as fat. This storage of non-productive mass takes away form athletic performance (especially in hockey, basketball, volleyball, track, and many positions in football) by causing premature fatigue and decreased acceleration/explosiveness.
There has been controversy over the years in the sports community on how much nutritional supplementation is needed to enhance athletic performance. Overwhelmingly, the answer keeps coming back as NOT MUCH, IF ANY. Because sport nutrition is such a comprehensive and complex area of study, and because it goes way beyond the scope this program, I am just going to lie out some very simple nutritional guidelines. These recommendations will be more than adequate in complimenting your conditioning program.
Since most of my career has been working in cardiology as therapist and lifestyle management counselor, I will recommend eating for your health!!! Heart disease is a condition that starts in early childhood, mainly because children learn sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. Getting young people into sports, of any kind, is very positive. The last thing a parent should do is teach and reinforce poor eating habits simply because they are under the false impression that a high calorie diet, usually coming from higher levels of fat, will help improve athletic performance. The pinnacle of human performance is athletic competition. Remember, when you eat for optimal health you’ll achieve optimal human performance for the hockey season and the REST OF YOUR LIFE.