Rise & Grind: Perform at Your Peak with Proper Nutrition and a Non-Toxic Diet
Rise & Grind serves as a resource centre for athletes, providing tools pertaining to skill development, injury prevention, muscle development, nutrition, education, X’s and O’s, mental toughness and much more; all this in efforts to maximize your potential!
As a basketball player, whether you play professionally or for your high school or college team, exercise is a way of life. Unlike those who go for the odd jog or to an exercise class once a week, real athletes train intensively week in week out. Because of this, you require a specialized diet and nutrition plan in order to function at peak.
The mistake many players make is not following a strict nutrition plan, and not cutting toxic substances from their diets. These mistakes come at a high cost; they have the potential to lose you the game. Optimum performance on the basketball court depends on proper nutritional habits, as these give you adequate fuel for maintaining high stamina and focus. By following a plan to eliminate the toxins, and getting the right amount of what you need, when you need it, you will greatly improve your chances on the court.
The most important first step to take is to cut all the poisonous and harmful substances from your diet immediately. It may sound obvious, but athletes should not be consuming alcohol, especially not on a regular basis, and should not smoke cigarettes. Reports of NBA players smoking shows that while it may seem like an obvious no-no – smoking effects your lung capacity and therefore capacity for physical exercise – there are some harmful habits that are hard to quit. Substances like alcohol and tobacco are addictive, and even if you do not have an addiction problem, they can be hard to give up completely. Make a rule for yourself not to drink at all during playing season, keeping in mind that you can reward yourself with a couple of drinks when the season is over. If you are a regular drinker struggling to quit, you may require help in your addiction recovery process.
Load up on Carbohydrates
The actual playing time of the average NBA game is around forty-eight minutes. While this may sound like a short amount of time, as playing time is divided up with waiting time in between, it is vital for players to consume slow energy releasing foods right before a game. Carbohydrates provide optimum fuel for an athlete; they are converted to glucose, a form of sugar, which is stored in the muscles as glycogen, and when you exercise your body converts this glycogen into energy. Three to four hours before a game you should eat a meal that is seventy percent carbohydrates. Some of the best carbohydrates to go for are bread, pasta, cereal, and fruit. Remember to replenish your carbohydrates after the big game as well.
Consume the Right Amount of Protein
Protein does not give you energy; its main purpose is to help maintain muscle tissue, which is why it is so popular with body builders. Though you are not body building, you still need to maintain a healthy amount of muscle and strength, meaning protein is also a necessary part of your diet. Consume a healthy protein source before and after a game. Milk is great for recovery after a game as it provides a good balance of carbohydrates and protein.
Avoid Fatty Foods
Again, this may sound like an obvious one, but many athletes are under the misconception that they require extra fat in their diet to give energy during long events. In fact by eating plenty of the following foods containing unsaturated fats – nuts, avocados, vegetable oils, and fatty fish – you will be getting all the fats your body needs for exercise.
Drink Fluids and Replenish Lost Electrolytes
Dehydration can greatly damage your performance on the basketball court. It is vital to ensure you are properly hydrated before and during a game. Drink chilled fluids, preferably water, right before a game, and throughout whenever possible. Do not wait until you feel thirsty, as by this point you could already be dangerously dehydrated. You also need to ensure you refuel and rehydrate after the big game. Sweating through physical exercise causes both fluid and electrolyte loss. Electrolytes help transmit nerve signals in your body, as well as performing other important jobs. Therefore you must replenish your lost electrolytes after a game; the easiest way to do this is through drinking sports drinks.