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Nutrition for Peak Performance

By SIU, 07/16/19, 10:15PM EDT


What Youth Soccer Players Need to Know

Why is Nutrition Important for Sports?

  • To supply the right amount of nutrients and energy for workouts & competition
  • Helps prevent fatigue and injury
  • Decrease recovery time between workouts
  • Planning for meals= planning for training/competition
  • Healthy eating increases energy

Healthy Eating Guidelines

  • Plan ahead
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Eat all foods in moderation
  • Eat at regular intervals
  • Consume lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Decrease total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in diet
  • Drink plenty of fluid


When is Nutrition Important?

  • Hydration – before, during and after training/competition is critical
  • Pre-game nutrition – prepare your body for training/competition
  • Post game recovery – help your body recover more quickly for the next training/competition
  • Tournaments – require careful planning and nutrition in order to be able to endure the weekend


Hydration Is Critical To Performance

  • Dehydration is the #1 cause of decreased performance
  • Loss of 2% body weight can decrease performance by 10-20%
  • Children have poor thermoreregulation
  • Proper hydration is key to preventing heat illnesses
  • Drink regularly throughout the day
  • Hydrate by drinking 2-3 cups of fluid two hours prior to workout/game
  • Hydrate by drinking 1 cup of fluid 10-20 minutes prior to game time
  • Consume ½–1 cup of fluid every 10-20 minutes during exercise 
  • Cold fluids are better for the body


How much fluid do soccer players need?

  • Depends on your sweat rate
  • Weigh yourself before and after workouts
  • Keep track of heat, humidity, time of day, length of the workout, and the amount of fluid consumed
  • Too much hydration (especially water) can be bad by causing too low of a sodium level (Hyponutremia)
  • Too little does not replace keep electrolytes up
  • Re-hydrate with 2-3 cups of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise

Choose the right Beverage

  • Water can be appropriate for shorter workouts
  • Sports Drinks for activity longer than 60 – 90 min
  • Absolutely NO caffeine
  • Cool drinks help your body better than room temperature drinks
  • Sports drinks are better! 
  • Gatorade is best for replacing electrolytes and nutrients
  • Drinks should contain Carbohydrates- Approximately 60-70 grams of carbohydrates per hour, dependent on sweat rate (36-40 oz sports beverage)
  • Drinks should contain Sodium- Approximately 200-1000 mg of sodium per hour, dependent on sweat rate (36-40 oz. sports drink)


Pre-Game Nutrition

Nutrition for Pre-workout/Game

  • LOW in fat
  • LOW in simple sugars
  • MODERATE TO HIGH in complex carbohydrates
  • Maintain carbohydrates on a regular basis, don’t carbo-load
  • MODERATE amounts of protein
  • FAMILIAR foods
  • LOTS of fluids
  • Allow 3-4 hours before game time if consuming a large meal
  • Allow 2-3 hours before game time if consuming a small meal
  • Allow 1-2 hours before game time if consuming a liquid meal
  • Less than 1 hour only leaves time for a small snack
  • Aim for 3 different food groups in your pre-game meal!
  • Nothing new on game days


Post-Game Recovery

Nutrition for Optimal Post Game Recovery

  • Recovery nutrition restores fluids
  • Recovery nutrition replenishes energy
  • Recovery nutrition repairs tissues
  • Recovery nutrition increases performance
  • Recovery nutrition improves overall health
  • Recovery nutrition yields shortened recovery time
  • Your body needs to replace Carbohydrates, Protein, Fluids and Electrolytes
  • The sooner, The Better on consuming recovery nutrition
  • Recovery nutrition should be consumed within 15-30 minutes after competition
  • A large bagel with peanut butter is one example of a good recovery snack
  • A banana and yogurt is another example of a good recovery snack


Carbohydrates for Recovery

  • Replenish muscles glycogen stores with carbohydrate:
  • Consume .5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight within the first two hours and again following two hours.


Protein for Recovery

  • Amino acids are needed to help stimulate protein synthesis to repair tissues
  • Consume 6-20 grams of protein within 15 minutes
  • Aim to consume a complete meal within 1-2 hours of exercise
  • Don’t forget to include three different food groups in the meal
  • Meat, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy will provide protein


Replacing Lost Electrolytes with Sodium and potassium

  • Replace Potassium with bananas, oranges, potatoes or milk
  • Replace Sodium with pretzels, lunchmeats, cheeses or soups


Fluids for Recovery

  • After training, drink 2-3 cups of fluid for every pound of body weight lost through sweat
  • Recovery drinks must not be water or soft drinks
  • Replace fluids lost in sweat by drinking sports drinks, juices, milk or eating watery foods such as soups, grapes, oranges, vegetables, etc.
  • IU found that recovery in swimmers performing 2-a-day practices improved dramatically after consuming 12-16 oz. of chocolate milk within 30 minutes after morning workouts.