By Ryan Dennis
No matter how hard they train, how many hours they spend mentally preparing for their moment in the bright lights, most athletes consistently fail at the part of their game that could actually get them there: nutrition. Below, I’ve listed the top 5 reasons why I repeatedly see athletes from all different fields falling short of their best, and included suggestions on how you can avoid making the same mistakes.
1) Skipped Meals: Without a doubt, if you’re missing meals, you’re not getting what you need to perform at your highest. An athlete needs a constant, steady supply of nutrients throughout the day (every 2-3 hours), and a missed meal means missed deliveries. Fact is, factories don’t produce without raw materials. Never skip a planned meal!
2) Eating Too Little: I get it; no one wants to carry around unnecessary baggage, but if you’re not giving yourself a little extra to build with day in, day out, you’re not gaining. At best, you’re keeping up with the status quo – and which champions are built by the status quo? Eat 10% above your expected needs every day to ensure you don’t miss the mark. You can calculate your daily needs (these are approximate only) at http://nutritiondata.self.com/tools/calories-burned.
3) Not Cooking: If you aren’t in the kitchen regularly, you’re missing out on big opportunities for gains. Take responsibility for your fuel, know what’s going into your food, and find new ways to dial-up the nutritional quality of the food you consume every meal. Don’t rely on fast food or restaurants to do this for you. They won’t.
4) Working Without a Plan: Even at a young age, players learn to fall back on their training when they hit the ice. Drills, plays, all of these details are mapped out long before you get serious about the sport you love. Bring that same level of commitment to food. Plan ahead, be efficient and maximize your performance arsenal!
5) Not Using High Quality Foods: Despite how important it is, I still see endless amounts of people skimping on the cost and quality of their foods and opting for the cheap, boxed and processed junk. Good food costs money, and it’s worth it. Dedicate a good amount of your resources to the food you eat. Your body is the most important thing you’ll ever possess, and if buying healthy foods means pushing back that new flat-screen purchase, consider it well worth the wait. Invest in high quality food!
So there you have it – 5 reasons why most athletes fail to reach the top, and how you can avoid making the same mistake. Don’t become a statistic; stay focused and remember: your body is built with the foods you eat. Eat well, build better!
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