Eat Healthy for Football Success

STACK Expert Robert Pomazak shows you how to eat healthier to fuel your football performance.

Football on field

You all know the feelings: you run out of steam during practice or a game, or you're painfully reminded by sore, stiff muscles the next day. Muscles enable us to carry out the innumerable functions of daily life, yet most people don't know the underlying physiology of the human muscle system. We generate actions so quickly that we are unaware of the complicated processes behind them.

To understand how muscle recovery is a key to peak performance during football games, you should have some knowledge about what your muscles need to function well.

Muscles require extraordinary amounts of energy, especially during intense activity like blocking and tackling. To generate the energy you need, your body uses a sophisticated system. Energy is released when your muscles break down carbohydrates, fat and protein. Your body uses these nutrients in specific proportions, depending on the length and intensity of your activity.

Food as Fuel

When you think of food, fuel may be the last thing that comes to mind. Yet what you put in your mouth has an enormous effect on your energy level. You wouldn't put cheap fuel in a race car, so why would you put bad food into your body?

Food is fuel, but what is the right type of fuel for athletic performance? Proper nutrition is essential to provide the energy you need at the right times to perform at your peak level.

Proper nutrition involves meeting your daily caloric requirements and providing your body with the nutrients it needs for the growth, support and repair of tissues. This may sound simple, but young athletes often neglect it.

Good nutrition requires a consistent, knowledgeable approach to healthy eating habits. A good place to start is to follow these simple rules and make healthy food choices.

  • Eat breakfast daily
  • Eat at least three meals and two or three snacks per day
  • Carbs should come primarily from fruits, vegetables and oats
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
  • Drink 16 ounces of water for every pound lost during a workout, practice or game
  • Avoid supplements until you have established good nutritional habits, and always consult a doctor before starting to take a supplement

Choose This over That

  • Baked potato over fries
  • Egg whites over fried eggs
  • Brown rice over white rice
  • Fresh food over processed food
  • Water over soda
  • Oatmeal over high sugar cereals
  • Baked, broiled or grilled over fried

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