Now that you understand the importance of providing your body with the proper nutrition, let’s dive into the best way to accomplish that. A good way to start is by understanding the function of the essential food groups, which are the building blocks of peak performance: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
First of all, your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of any food group is basically determined by your body weight in kilograms. The range, however, can be quite broad due to factors such as age, gender and intensity & duration of exercise. The following formula is used to determine your body weight in kilograms:
Pounds / 2.2 = Your body weight in Kilograms
There are three essential food groups (macronutrients): carbohydrates, protein and fats.
Function: Your body utilizes glycogen stores produced by the muscles and liver for primary energy needs. By consuming carbohydrates, you’re allowing for your body to reproduce the glycogen used during exercise, sparing the breakdown of muscle mass before and during the next training period.
RDI (Recommended Daily Intake): On average, athletes can and will consume anywhere between 6-12 grams of carbohydrates, per kilogram of body weight. This range is so broad due to the factors mentioned above.
10 grams CHO x Body Weight (kilograms)
For example: Ryan—16 years old, 5’10”, 160 lbs.
160lbs. / 2.2 = 73kg
10g x 73kg = 730g CHO per day
Food Examples: whole-grain breads, cereals, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables, dried peas, beans, milk, nuts, sugars
Function: During exercise, especially football which requires a significant amount of power and strength training, your muscles experience microtrauma. The consumption of protein allows for growth, recovery and regeneration of the bodily tissues affected by the training sessions. Overall, this process can result in hypertrophy (increase in muscle mass).
RDI (Recommended Daily Intake): Most athletes consume 1.2-1.7 grams of proteins, per kilogram of body weight; but due to the special needs of football players and your continued development as a high school athlete, this amount has been increased to 1.2-2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight.
1.8 grams Protein x Body Weight (kilograms)
For example: Nate—17 years old, 6’0”, 223 lbs.
223lbs. / 2.2 = 101.4kg
1.8g x 101.4kg = 182.5g Protein per day
Food Examples: meats (lean), poultry, fish, milk, milk products, eggs, nuts, dried peas, beans, and soy products
Function: Fats are the most energy (calorie) dense nutrient. They are essential and unique due to the fatty acids (Omega-6, Omega-3, EPA/DHA) which are utilized as a source of energy, but not produced by the body. Fatty acids can only be consumed in the diet. Fats are also important in the maintenance of cellular elements and the absorption of vitamins (A, D, E & K).
RDI (Recommended Daily Intake): An athletes’ daily fat intake is anywhere between 20-35% of total calories, which amounts to approximately 1 gram per kilogram of body weight. Remembering to keep the amount in moderation is just as important as the type of fats you consume. The “good” fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The “bad” fats you want to avoid are trans-fats and saturated fats, which can raise your body’s cholesterol.
Liana Groel-MFM Athletic Trainer