Simple nutrition coaching for your players
By: Mike Roussell, PhD
Nutrition is a funny thing for your athletes. They don’t pay enough attention to it. You don’t have the time or resources to address it and it could arguable make the biggest impact on their performance. So how can you use the little time you have to talk nutrition and make the biggest impact possible.
Talk actions and behaviors.
Nutritionist love to talk about grams of this, percent calories of that…try telling a 18 year old running back that he needs to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. It doesn’t work. It isn’t tangible enough for them. So they’ll end up saying ‘okay coach’ going home and continuing doing what they always do. Fortunately breaking the nutrition barrier with your athletes isn’t that tough if you give them specific actions and things to do. Here are 3 simple and actionable things your athletes can do.
Have something right after exercise – A sports drink is good. A sports drink with a little protein is a little better. This is the highest impact single thing they can do. Fortunately sports drinks are easier to find than water in some places so no one should have trouble doing this. Getting in liquid nutrition right away will
Eat Breakfast that contains protein – Many young athletes skip breakfast and then when they do have breakfast, they’ll opt for a bagel or cereals – both less than idea. Have your athletes 1. Eat breakfast and 2. Make sure it has some protein. This will improve the quality of what they are eating (eggs, greek yogurt, etc).
Eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal – If you look at the top 5 sources of calories in the American diet, vegetables are non-existent. Have your athletes commit to eating a fruit or vegetable at every meal. It is a very simple thing for them to do and it will make a big difference in the quality of their diets.
Have you athletes do all three or just get them to do one for a week and then add one more. Simple actionable changes that they can stick to will make a difference and improve their performance.
Mike Roussell, PhD
Science Advisory Board: LiveStrong.com
Columnist: Bodybuilding.com, Shape.com
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This is something I don’t do enough of as a player. It’s definitely way too easy to just skip a meal when you’re busy and it shows on the field. Good reminder!