Nutrition is one of the 5 pillars of health and is a critical component to helping athletes perform at their best. Both nutrition and performance nutrition are components of long-term athletic development that can start today when parents, athletes, and coaches understand and implement best practices. However, it’s often overlooked, especially in youth sports. Proper fueling allows athletes to prepare, perform, and recover to the best of their abilities. This helps improve performance, reduce injury, and optimize growth & development.
Learning and understanding basic nutritional principles such as macronutrients and micronutrients, food groups, and hydration and applying it specifically to sport including nutrient timing, hydration, and travel nutrition can aid athletes in enhancing performance and gaining that competitive edge. Youth athletes playing at a competitive level often neglect their nutrition & fueling needs and often find themselves feeding. There is a difference between feeding and fueling. Youth often think that because they are training hard, they can eat whatever they want because they will work it off. This is feeding. Fueling has a much greater impact on their performance because it provides the nutrients needed to sustain the high sport demands often placed upon them.
Also, nutrition is especially important at this age because not only are they performing, but they are also growing and developing at a rapid rate. Bone stress fractures and other injuries are often a sign of under-fueling and /or over-training. Therefore, they need to provide their body with the best foods to help build strong healthy bones, tissues, and muscles to not only set them up for success now but later in life.
Busy schedules, other commitments, and lack of knowledge often get in the way of eating properly. However, taking the time to learn the basics, along with planning ahead, will help to support young athletes as they fuel properly. This is a key component to health & performance. If you would like to learn more, I have created a course specifically for young high-performing athletes that will walk you through what you need to know, including tools such as meal plans, snacks, and groceries.
To learn more check out the new course “Ultimate Virtual Soccer Training for Female Athletes". If you are looking for performance nutrition only check out our course "Fueling for Peak Performance."