Today’s post is by Dusti Roberts. Dusti serves as Director of Operations at Elite Sports in Birmingham, AL, Director of Team Elite Softball Organization, and On-Line Content Provider of AthleteFIT.com.
As I was making my way through college playing softball at UAB, we had routine meetings with nutritionist to make sure we were getting the fuel we needed and understood the basics of fueling our body for performance. I enjoyed the meetings very much. We normally had skin fold measurements (to test our body fat) and then some sort of lecture with question and answer session at the end. I was not a terrible eater. I understood that fast food was bad, vegetables were good, and eating before practices and games were important. One thing I NEVER understood was why the nutritionists made everything so complicated. I remember long lectures with a ton of information, but never a workable plan for me. My teammates and I did not know what to do with the nutrition class just jammed down our throats, so we never changed anything.
I am sure this is not what the nutritionists were going for. As I look back I wish the information would have been delivered in a way that we could understand and implement into our lives. My team of 22 athletes all had a poor understanding of properly fueling our bodies and as a result I DO believe our performance suffered.
In efforts to simplify nutrition I am going to introduce rules of nutrition that we will work into our daily routines and create habits that will improve your body composition and your performance. So, the questions of what to eat? When to eat? What are my calorie needs to keep my energy level adequate for games and practices? Is this a bad choice? Etc. Will all be answered.
RULE #1- CONSISTENT CALORIES CONSISTENTLY
Most of us are used to three square meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are actually lucky if we get these everyday and we normally add a sugar filled snack at some point to get us through the blood sugar crash of the day. If you were like me low blood sugar felt normal because of my lack of eating. Rarely did I eat breakfast and my snacks normally consisted of something in a bag from the vending machine and a Dr. Pepper. For lunch before practice I would have a sandwich around 12:00 O’clock and be starving after practice at 5 just in time to be stuck in traffic. This would lead to a team gathering at a restaurant where poor choices were made due to the feeling of starvation or not knowing a better choice could be made.
If I would have understood this rule I could have made it easier on myself and would have had better practices. Too many practices and games I felt tired and slow due to my lack of workable nutrition information.
So, what does this mean? Consistent calories consistently… Lets start off by trying to eat 5 to 6 times a day. I know that sounds like a ridiculous amount of food, but if you eat 5 to 6 times a day plan on eating smaller meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Here is a sample plan:
8:00 Breakfast- bowl of cheerios with some blueberries
10:30 Snack- Apple and some nuts
12:00 Lunch- Sandwich with some veggies (raw or steamed)
2:30 Snack- Normally before practice or training- Peanut butter sandwich on multigrain bread with some grapes (or other choice of fruit)
4:00 Post workout – Gatorade with a whey protein shake (or a pre made recovery drink)
6:30 Dinner – Chicken or other lean meat with steamed veggies or a salad and add some wheat rice, bread, couscous, or pasta. We will talk more about specifics as we get into the process.
9:00 Snack – something small to told you over and keep your metabolism racing.
Now, try to prepare to make this rule a habit. The first two days you will feel like you are constantly eating but after that you will feel your metabolism race and you will be able to feel your blood sugar calling for a healthy snack every 3 hours.
TIP: Try to eat as many vegetables as you can while trying this rule. Vegetables are power foods! Use them to your advantage.
Keep a look out for the next SIMPLIFYING NUTRITION RULE!