I had the pleasure of working with a group of high school cross country student-athletes up at a summer camp in Granby, CO yesterday (I got the added benefit of a beautiful mountain drive on the way out there) discussing the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyle in optimizing performance.
Teenage athletes require the most nutrition in comparison to any athlete training at the same level as these athletes are not only fueling themselves for performance, but also for education and the growth and development. Therefore, this was a crucial opportunity for me to provide information on the importance of properly fueling/hydrating your body and timing it correctly, adequate sleep, training smart, and the importance of valuing function over having “the look.”
While these topics are crucial for athletes of all ages and should be taken into consideration, as a teenager this information becomes even more crucial, especially if they want to continue to grow and succeed to become higher level college or professional athletes.
Many times, we assume that if we want to “lean out,” for example in order to run faster, jump higher, etc. we make the assumption that we need to decrease our caloric intake. In fact, this is opposite. We need to significantly increase our properly timed and balanced caloric intake to promote energy for performance and optimal recovery/muscle development. By discussing this with these athletes we were able to debunk certain nutrition and performance myths and provide information to help them grow as athletes. Additionally, this allows us to focus on the importance of proper function over “the look.” As social media and body focused advertisements are abundant, it is so easy to fall in to the trap of negative body image and eventual detrimental behaviors that result in a failed athlete over performance. We clarified and discussed how significant photoshop, filters, makeup, etc. can falsely show a body type that is unattainable and by balancing their healthy, properly fueled, performance based lifestyle, they will be the most successful rather than trying to compare how they look.
These inspired athletes did such a fantastic job at taking the provided information and demonstrating their understanding that I am excited to see what changes they are able to implement to become their best selves, especially as athletes.
What have you been able to change nutritionally in order to improve your athletic performance?
If you are looking for extra help with your nutrition, athletic performance, and health goals and need help making a healthy lifestyle as easy, optimal, and enjoyable as possible, CONTACT US today and SCHEDULE your first appointment toward taking control of your health!
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Wishing you a week of energy, fuel, and optimal performance,
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”