NUTRITION, HYDRATION, AND SLEEP
Good nutrition is an absolute must for growing teenagers and is critical for budding athletes. Here are some quick pointers on nutrition that parents should know.
- Calorie Intake: at least 2500 Calories for girls, and 2800 Calories for boys. Nutrition problems in runners tend to stem from too little of the good rather than too much of the bad.
- Eat breakfast and have a snack before practice. Athletes that start their days without breakfast up you are more likely to run out of gas in class and at practice. Athletes should fuel up again with a quick snack (banana, protein bar, dry cereal) between their afternoon classes.
- Eat a balanced diet! Ensure that athletes have all their vitamins and minerals, calcium & iron are especially important).
- Get sufficient protein! Growing athletes should strive for one gram of protein per pound of body weight, daily! This may seem like a lot but protein is critical to building and rebuilding muscles and other internal structures.
- Eliminate caffeine and soda from your diet! This is especially important for young girls as caffeine disrupts calcium absorption and may lead to osteoporosis later in life.
- Eliminate refined sugars from your diet! The chronic insulin response from eating candy, sugar sweetened drinks, and high sugar foods will inhibit your ability to build muscle. All sweet food should come with fiber and vitamins e.g. whole fruits and whole fruit smoothies, avoid juice and other fiber-less sweet drinks.
- Hydration! Athlete should drink at least 3 liters of water each day before practice, an additional liter after practice, and another liter in the evening before bed. This comes to 5 liters (1.3 gallons) daily. Dehydration is the most common aliment affecting runners.
- Sleep! Teens need 8 to 9 hours of sleep; teen athletes need 9 to 10 hours. Too many students stay up late due to procrastination and electronic distractions.
- Athletes need good training shoes – Transports on College Ave. and Solano Ave. does an excellent job of fitting shoes. Mention you are on a BHS team and they may give you a deal. LaFoot on College also does a superb job of fitting shoes, and a new stores Sports Basement and Road Runner Sports have also opened recently in Berkeley.
- Event specific shoes – Depending on the event an athlete may need shoes specific to their discipline. For instance throwing shoes for throwers, racing flats for distance runners, and no-heel spikes for sprinters. Please talk with your event Coaches about what is required for your discipline.
- Athletes need workout clothes, this means shorts cut above the knee or running tights for both genders. On cold days sweatshirts and sweatpants are recommended pre and post workout.
- Distance runners need a digital watch with chronograph (stopwatch) feature to time their runs. This doesn’t need to be a special GPS, Heart Rate monitor, Step counter watch, just a simple start and stop function is required.
- All Athletes need a Water Bottle to carry to school. Athletes must be able to hydrate throughout the day, and refill their bottles before it before practice. Hydration is key to health and athletic performance!