Volleyball Nutrition Plan

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Use a well-planned nutrition strategy to fuel Penn State's strength coaches' eight-week power training program. 

Now is the time to get your body ready for a full season of passing, setting, hitting and serving aces. Maximize your training with the proper calories, fluids and timing of meals. As you engage in the Nittany Lions' program, keep these nutrition goals in mind.

Begin workouts well hydrated. Maintain your fluid levels throughout activity by drinking four to eight ounces every 15 minutes. Afterwards, down 20 to 30 ounces of a sports drink or enough to replace fluid weight lost during exercise.

Aim to eat five to six meals [approximately every three to four hours] throughout the day, beginning with a solid breakfast. Eat a meal two hours before working out; have a light snack an hour before; then immediately after activity, have another. Consume complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, and complement those with modest amounts of lean proteins such as skinless poultry, fish and lean cuts of beef or pork. Lighten up on fats. Choose plant-based sources [e.g., nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and avocado] and low fat versions of mayonnaise and salad dressing. Opt for broiled, baked, grilled or roasted foods, too.

Penn State's eight-week plan is split into two three-week "build-up" periods [Weeks 1-3 and 5-7]. Energy demands are highest during these times. To support gains in muscle, power, strength and explosive speed, make sure you consume sufficient calories and fluids with the following eating guide:

Breakfast: Ready-to-eat cereal or oatmeal; banana; skim milk; orange juice; 1 hard-boiled or scrambled egg white or a string cheese. Alternative: Omelet [1 whole egg and 2 egg whites] with peppers, onion, spinach, tomato, mozzarella; whole-wheat toast with jam or honey; orange wedges; skim milk or yogurt.

Snack: Fat-free chocolate pudding; 1 oz. peanuts

Lunch: Sandwich made with whole grain bread, lean roast beef, slice of reduced-fat cheese, lettuce, tomato and mustard; fresh seasonal fruit; yogurt with 2 tbsp. granola; lemonade

Pre-workout snack: Low-fat granola bar; sports drink

Post-workout recovery snack: Low-fat kefir and homemade cereal mix [Cheerios, almonds, raisins, dried cherries]

Dinner: Grilled marinated pork tenderloin; brown rice pilaf; grilled zucchini; mixed greens with garbanzo beans, cucumber, tomato, onion, carrots and reduced-fat dressing; apple sauce; skim milk

Evening snack: Frozen yogurt with fresh strawberries

To allow for rest and recovery, the Penn State plan also includes two "down" or "cut-back" periods [Weeks 4 and 8]. During these times, your body's demand for energy is reduced. In fact, too many calories will add unwanted weight, which can bog you down. Direct your eating patterns as such:

Breakfast: Ready-to-eat cereal or oatmeal; banana; skim milk; orange juice. Alternative: whole grain English muffin with peanut butter; banana or raisins; juice; skim milk.

Snack: Orange or other fresh fruit

Lunch: Whole-wheat pita stuffed with tuna, onions, cucumber, tomato, fresh spinach, light mayo, dill pickle; fresh fruit; lemonade

Pre-workout snack: Fat-free yogurt

Post-workout recovery snack: Low-fat kefir; dried cherries

Dinner: Barbequed chicken breast; baked beans; corn on the cob; mixed greens with cucumber, tomato, onion, carrots, broccoli, dried cranberries, reduced-fat dressing; skim milk; sliced peaches

Evening snack: Cantaloupe

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