Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a high school athletic team about it’s nutritional protocol. It was very interesting to me how influenced the students were by the ad campaigns in fitness magazines. You can pick up any Men’s Health, Muscle and Fitness, Flex, and/or Woman’s Shape Magazines and as you open them they are loaded with product advertising. I would venture to say that almost half of the magazine is dedicated to advertisement spots. They will market their weight loss, weight gain, more energy products throughout the entire magazine. The advertising is obviously working because many of the students thought that the best way to become bigger, faster, and stronger was to utilize these products along with their current strength training protocol.
As we continued the lecture, it was evident that many of the kids had taken their parents to the local GNC and spent quite a bit of money on products. This cost varied anywhere from $50 to $350 and the employees were kind enough to upsell them on more items. The biggest part that the kids were missing is that you don’t need all of these products to be the best athlete on the team. As the ads will have you believe, if you take all of these items you will be the best athlete on the team whom everyone will love. The problem is that store likes GNC and so forth sell these items that are meant to be a supplement in accordance with proper nutritional habits. Most parents had no idea what they were buying, but how could a parent say no to something that will supposedly help their child gain an advantage on the athletic field. These are the same parents that will take their child to a fast food restaurant before a game to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These kids are also the ones who think that pop tarts and a Red Bull will get them through the game with no problems.
If you want the secret to performing well on the field and to becoming a bigger, faster, stronger athlete, than you might want to educate yourself on the proper nutritional habits for an athlete. As with everything in life you have to prepare and work hard in order to get ahead. The same goes for the nutrition of your athletes. Meals should be properly balanced with protein, fats, and carbs. This means you might have to make healthy meals for the week, so that your child can eat properly prior to and after a game. It also means that you might have to pack a travel cooler instead of letting them order junk food and such from the concession stands.
I understand that the roles of parents can be challenging and quite time consuming especially when you have a high school athlete on your hands. However, if you are supplying your child with supplements and fast food in order to help them achieve greatness you will be sadly disappointed. There are quite a number of head coaches and strength and conditioning coaches who focus on the exercise portion of conditioning, however failing to discuss the nutritional and recovery side of training. If the team is sustaining a fair number of injuries and looks lethargic on the field than your training protocol is flawed. I think a lot of times coaches are so focused on winning, that they neglect to teach the basics such as how to eat, train, and injury prevention. It is a shame because high school athletics has become a fast-paced dash to winning championships, yet we fail to educate the next generation on how important the basics are. There is no secret to becoming bigger, faster, and stronger, much like there is no secret to becoming successful. Both require planning and hard work in order to achieve the desired results. The lesson to be learned is do not attempt to take shortcuts such as supplements and fail to miss the basic principles of proper nutritional habits. If you need help with your athletes nutritional program, please contact us at 610 334-4120.