If you would like to be a student athlete, it means you will have busy schedules filled with classes, training sessions and competitions all the time. The demands of this dual life-style make it even more difficult to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan. But staying fuelled is essential and is the key to success in the classroom as well as on the field.
As a student athlete you will have all the resources to eat well – meal plans usually allow you to eat as much as you like and you won’t need to do your dishes! After you finish a gruelling training session you and your teammates will go together to the cafeteria. You can eat whatever you fancy but sometimes you will have to be careful what you choose. Today we would like to share the 5 most important nutrition tips with you to help you prepare for your future student athlete life!
Nutrition tips for student athletes
Never skip breakfast!
One of the most common nutrition mistakes people and many student athletes make is not eating breakfast. Leaving the house without having breakfast will make you feel tired and exhausted. Not to mention it will have a serious effect on your athletic performance! A good balance of carbs and protein is the best to take in the morning, so you kick-start your metabolism and the day feeling energised! Moreover research has shown that college students eating breakfast achieve better grades. So if you would like to perform well academically and athletically make sure you grab something for breakfast in the morning!
Stay hydrated and drink water!
You probably heard your coach telling you a hundred times how your water consumption is very important during training and competition time. However we cannot emphasise its importance enough! The body of an average adult consists of 60% water which drops quickly during a heavy training due to sweating. If you are dehydrated, your athletic performance declines, your body temperature goes up and you may have headaches and muscle cramps. Always make sure you are in your best shape, try to plan how you hydrate yourself during the day! Women should drink 2.7 liters of fluids a day while men should drink 3.7 liters to keep their metabolism flowing. So take a bottle of water with you all the time no matter where you go!
Have a balanced and varied diet!
Another common dietary issue is eating the same meals over and over again on a weekly basis. Having a plain and unvaried diet is not only boring but results in depriving your body of some essential nutrients. If you are going for a meal plan in your college or university, always make sure you choose something new. Try to fill your plate with lots of fresh vegetables and unprocessed food as much as you can. In general, limit foods with added sugar and saturated fats; you should rather stick to lean proteins and whole-grain carbohydrates instead.
Eat frequently and pack some healthy snacks!
One thing you have to make sure is that you eat multiple times during the day. This way you will not feel hungry all the time and you won’t be binge eating late at night. It is handy to have a couple of healthy snacks to pack next to your water bottle in your backpack when you go to school. Think about having a banana or apple, cereal bar, nuts or dried fruits on the go. If you don’t eat frequently your blood sugar level drops and you will not have the energy to perform to your maximum potential.
Post-workout recovery and rest
Intense training is exhausting your body so you have to eat carbs and protein to recover your muscles and energy level. Utilise your “window of opportunity” (usually 15-45 minutes after your workout) when nutrients are absorbed more efficiently. Also think about getting enough sleep, 6-8 hours a day to ensure proper recovery.