Nutrition and Football

For the general population, it is easy to sum up the key to good nutrition. One simply needs to consume a balance of nutrients from a variety of healthy foods to meet but not exceed daily calorie needs.

If you’re a football player, however, that formula will only get you so far. Because of the need for immense strength, short bursts of power and the ability to recover from hard hits, football players require a more specialized nutrition plan to excel on the field.

This plan must work in concert with a strength and conditioning program to produce lean muscle mass. It must focus on finding the right fuel to prepare for and recover from practice and games. And it must take into account individual needs-a quarterback, for example, needs a different nutritional strategy than the center he lines up behind.

But before we get into many of the specifics behind fueling for football, it’s important to first understand the basics. On the field, you need to know how to catch the ball before you can learn to run hitches, slants, curls, and post routes. In this chapter, we’ll explain overall nutritional game plans for athletes, which will prepare you for understanding how it becomes specialized for certain positions and times of the year.

Food as Energy

To be successful as an athlete, your body must be continuously supplied with food energy, called calories. If calorie intake exceeds needs, you’ll gain weight and body fat, which will make you feel heavy, play slower, and increase your risk for injury. If calorie intake does not meet ufabet เว็บแม่ demands, you won’t be able to maintain your muscle mass and speed, and your recovery will be slow and incomplete.

The number of calories needed to maintain a certain weight varies greatly among individuals. For example, a 220-pound high school fullback who is still growing would need between 4,000 and 5,000 calories a day, in-season. His 45-year-old, 140-pound mom, whose only exercise is cheering loudly during football games, would need less than half her son’s amount of calories.

There are four basic reasons why nutrition is important for athletes: