With how much energy athletes expend in training, having a proper diet to supplement training is key. Many kids believe that because they are active and play a lot of sports their diet doesn’t matter because they are making up for it with their physical exercise. However, nutrition actually matters more when you play sports since the way you eat will have a direct impact on your training and performance. Below are some of the many reasons why nutrition is important for young athletes.
How well you eat in the hours leading up to a practice or game directly impacts your performance. Those that make sure to eat whole foods filled with carbohydrates are going to have more energy when they play. If you don’t eat well prior to a game or don’t eat at all, you might notice you feel more sluggish than usual. Mentally you might also find it harder to concentrate. In order to be able to play at your best, prioritizing carbs and eating well on days where there is a game or practice is necessary.
Helps Immune System
The food you eat contributes to the strength of your immune system. A good diet will prevent you from having nutrient deficiencies that can lead to your immune system being compromised. Getting sick can affect your performance or lead to you missing games or practices. If you are a young athlete and find yourself getting ill a lot then your diet could be the reason. To support your immune system you need to make sure you’re eating a lot of fruits and vegetables that contain micronutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, iron (etc).
Helps With Recovery
With how active young athletes are, they need to be able to quickly recover in time for their next game, practice or training session. The only way to do this is for athletes to get the right amount of protein and carbohydrates. Although eating too much can result in a caloric surplus and weight gain, athletes need to find the right balance for them that allows them to maintain their physical condition during the season while being able to recover effectively. When playing sports that require lots of endurance your glycogen stores end up getting depleted. Eating food that is rich in macronutrients like carbs and protein will help to promote glycogen re-synthesis and aid in muscle repair.
Nutrition is especially important when it comes to maintaining a good athletic body composition. Excessive fat as a result of a poor diet affects your performance and puts you at a higher risk of injury. The excess body fat can make it harder for you to move as it requires greater force to move the excess weight. Your body and heart have to work harder which means you will tire out easily as well. This is why many top athletes tend to have low body fat. Top athletes also tend to try to lose weight in order to decrease their risk of injury as excess weight puts more pressure on the joints.
Register for TAC Sports’ Programming
These are the many reasons why nutrition is important for young athletes. At TAC Sports we value health and fitness and want to give kids the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle. We offer many different camps, lessons, teams and other programming for kids between the ages of 3-16. To register for TAC Sports’ programs, click on the button below.