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Basketball is my Passion

Attitude, Nutrition and Rest: Part 2

To be able to play the game of basketball it is necessary to stay healthy and fit. The way you eat is a very important factor to improve how you play. Also, your daily diet simply promotes your continued life, at least in part. A balanced diet is required to guarantee optimal levels of energy and focus during training and workouts, and most generally, during any activity.

 

Part 2: Nu•tri•tion

1.       The organic process of nourishment by which an organism takes in and assimilates food for promoting growth and replacing worn or injured tissues.

2.       The science or study of proper balanced diet to promote health.

To be able to play the game of basketball it is necessary to stay healthy and fit. The way you eat is a very important factor to improve how you play. Also, your daily diet simply promotes your continued life, at least in part. A balanced diet is required to guarantee optimal levels of energy and focus during training and workouts, and most generally, during any activity.

The most important thing about Nutrition, just like with Attitude, is that you are in charge of what you eat. Each of us is responsible for eating a nutritious and balanced diet every day. And we need to learn how to pass that responsibility to our kids. According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), the United States and Mexico are the top ranked countries for obesity. That tells me we know less about how to properly eat around these parts of the world. So let´s take a couple of minutes to think about how we can improve our diet to transform our life to stay healthy and become better athletes.

As human beings, we all need the same nutrients and sufficient water to support life. However, depending on the individual´s age, body size, mental and physical activities and the intensity and frequency of the training programs, the calories and fluid requirements vary. And to ensure our body gets the right amount of energy and the 50 plus nutrients for its proper functions, we need to eat a variety of foods.

A basic guideline for athletes to follow recommended by health and nutrition professionals is that 55% – 60% of the calories in our diet come from carbohydrate (10 to 15 percent from sugars and the rest from starches), no more than 30% from fat and the remaining 10-15% from protein.

So, how many calories per day are needed in our diet? The best way to make sure you are not getting too many or too few calories is to check your weight periodically. If you’re keeping within your ideal weight range, you’re probably getting the right amount of calories.

Do not forget about water! You can survive for a month without food, but only days without water. Even the most talented player, if dehydrated, may not perform at her/his best. Water could be replaced with a sports drink to benefit from the electrolytes and carbohydrates it contains.

Electrolytes are nutrients that affect fluid balance in the body and are necessary for our nerves and muscles to function. Sodium and potassium are the two electrolytes most often added to sports drinks. Generally, electrolyte replacement is not needed during short bursts of exercise since sweat is approximately 99% water and less than 1% electrolytes. Water, in combination with a well balanced diet, will restore normal fluid and electrolyte levels in the body. However, replacing electrolytes may be beneficial during continuous activity of longer than 90 minutes, especially in a hot environment.

Carbohydrates in sports drinks provide extra energy. The most effective sports drink contain15 to 18 grams of carbohydrate in every 8 ounces of fluid.

According to the American Dietetic Association:

• Be sure to get enough calories to meet the demands of basketball. Basketball has eight different changes in movement, and players average 997 changes in movement during a 48-minute game—that equals a change every 2 seconds! Only 15% of playing time in a basketball game is of high intensity, but the high-intensity play is likely to determine whether you win or lose the game.

• Basketball players need more than 2.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day (> 6 g/kg/day). During heavy training and competition, carbohydrate needs increase to 3.6 to 4.5 grams per pound of body weight per day (8 to 10 g/kg/day). Good sources of carbohydrate include whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables.

• Basketball players need 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (1.4 to 1.7 g/kg/day). Good sources of protein are fish, chicken, turkey, beef, low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, nuts, and soy.

• Basketball players need at least 0.45 grams of fat per pound of body weight per day (1 g/kg/day). Choose heart-healthy fats like canola oil, olive oil, and nuts.

I suggest the following reading since I found it really useful for its advice about nutrition as for its overall good health information:

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