Source: Waterloo Warriors High Performance Program – Athlete Nutrition
Feeding the Monster starts with feeding our bodies. Eating properly is massively important if we want to become strong, fast, athletic hockey players.
Think of food as the fuel for your body. Your body won’t work properly if it isn’t adequately gassed up with high performance fuel.
Master the Basics of Nutrition
Until you are consistently eating like a successful athlete, don’t worry too much about vitamins, supplements, macro-nutrients, meal timing and a host of other advanced nutritional strategies.
Nutrition is a tool that you can use to get a big advantage over your competition. You can think of the food you eat as fuel for your body. Benefits of improved nutrition include:
- Improved strength, power and speed
- Higher energy levels
- Improved recovery time
- Better body composition
- Improved focus
- Improved resistance to sickness
If you really want to be a top athlete, you have to consistently eat a healthy diet. Think about your role model. What would Sidney Crosby eat? What would Hayley Wickenheiser eat?
Changing your diet is about developing new keystone habits and routines. It is never easy changing things that you may have been doing for years.
The 7 Commandments of Nutrition for Athletes
- Eat lean protein with every meal. Protein supports lean muscle growth and is essential if you want to get stronger. For a 125 lb. athlete, you should be trying to get 20-25g of protein per meal. Examples of 20-25g of protein: 4 oz. skinless boneless chicken breast, 2-3 whole eggs, 1 scoop of protein powder, 4 oz. top sirloin beef steak, 1/2 fillet of salmon, 1 cup of 1% cottage cheese. There are lots of plant based sources of protein as well.
- Eat vegetables or fruit with every meal. Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables contain all sorts of good things for athletes. Vitamins, fibre, and more. Think of having a fistful at every meal. Salads and frozen vegetables make this easy.
- Eat carbohydrates from whole, natural sources. While many diets proclaim the value of eating low-carb, athletes need carbohydrates to replenish your system from the fuel used in training and competition. Try to get your carbs from whole, natural sources that contain fibre and plenty of nutrients. Avoid highly processed glucose-spiking junk foods. Good examples include rice, quinoa, oats, whole-grain pasta, potatoes, legumes and organic breads.
- Eat healthy fats every day. Healthy fats support brain and nervous system function, assist with sleep and recovery and help transport essential vitamins and minerals into your body. Healthy fat sources include animal fats, nuts, natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts), olive or organic coconut oil, avocados, eggs. Avoid trans-fats and hydrogenated oils. These are chemically altered oils and are usually are only found in processed foods.
- Drink at least 3 litres of WATER every day. Proper hydration will increase your energy levels and improve your overall health and body composition. Buy and use a big water bottle. The less often you have to refill it the more likely you are to be successful. You can flavour the water with lemon juice, slices of fruit, cucumber or cinnamon sticks. Avoid drinks with added sugar.
- Have a post-workout recovery shake. If you want your muscles to grow, it is important that you give them the fuel them up immediately after you deplete their energy stores. The best way to do this is a shake, since solid foods can take a few hours to digest. There are many good recovery shakes: Biosteel and BeachBody are just two. Try for a 2:1 ration of carbs (30-40g) to protein (15-20g). Chocolate milk is another good option in a pinch. You can also mix your own by combining a 500ml bottle of Gatorade with a typical scoop of whey protein.
- Minimize consumption of food and drink (alcohol) that disturbs recovery and regeneration. This one should be obvious.