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Nutrition for High Intensity High School Sports

Alex, is a 17-year-old high school hockey player. Like other teens that play high endurance sports, he participates in at least 2 long workouts and 2-4 energy-intense games each week. All this, in addition to classes, homework, and school activities, is a demanding schedule for athletes like Alex who could greatly benefit from a sound nutritional program. Recently, Alex has been looking for ways to give his performance an edge. While watching one of his hockey games last week, I noticed that by the 3rd period, his energy was waning and his performance sluggish. On the way home, we talked about how nutrition can affect athletic performance and that by getting on the right nutritional program could improve his endurance, speed, and strength.

I first suggested to Alex that he stay well hydrated before, during, and after workouts and games. Fluid loss can significantly affect his ability to train and compete. I recommended he:

•  Drink several glasses of fluids first thing in the morning.
•  Drink water between class periods at school.
•  Drink 8-16 ounces of fluids one half hour before exercise.
•  Water is OK for lower intensity sports lasting 45 minutes or less, but Sports drinks are better for him since he participates in a high intensity sport. Sports drinks contain electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium that are lost with sweat.
•  Carbonated and caffeinated fluids are poor choices to drink before the event. Some runners like coffee before a run, while others do not like the diuretic effect it has. Sodas will often reduce athletic performance, causing the athlete to “bonk” mid-way through the event. It is best to avoid these.
•  Drink 6-8 ounces of fluid for each 15 minutes of exercise at all breaks in practice and games.
•  Drink at least 24 ounces of sports drinks after practice/games.

Next, I told Alex to fuel his body regularly by eating at least 3-6 meals or snacks every day. Breakfast is extremely important for athletes to refuel muscles. Stocking up early in the day with nutrient-rich foods will get him ready for his afternoon workout. Refueling after hard workouts with complex carbohydrates and adequate protein will help keep him from feeling fatigued, replaces the lost glycogen stores depleted during exercise, and helps with muscle rebuilding.

Actives individuals such as Alex generally need 55-65% of total calories from carbohydrates during an event since they are the preferred muscle fuel. Eating potatoes, vegetables, whole grain pastas, and brown rice whole grain breads are good choices. However, it is important to eat according to your Metabolic Type. Remember from our previous newsletters “once a lion, always a lion”…in other words, if you need a lot of protein to prevent a hypoglycemic event, you are most certainly going to need it during an athletic event.

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The information on this website is presented as information only and not a self-help guide. Never alter or change your health management or begin any new health plans without first consulting your personal health care provider. Some statements on this site regarding the value of nutritional supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

Prolotherapy may not be effective for every individual and there are risks involved, these risks should be discussed with your physician. Results achieved with some may not be typical of all. Please consult a physician.

There is no known cure for arthritis. Prolotherapy and nutritional supplements can help alleviate, reverse, or end arthritic pain by treating an underlying cause that contributes to degenerative disease, ligament laxity. Strengthening ligaments and other connective tissue can help prevent bone on bone arthritis from developing.

© 2014 Chicago Sports Medicine.