you are a teen athlete, you know that you push your body very hard.
You practice every day after school, and sometimes twice a
day. You compete all the time, and are constantly working to be your
best. Most teen athletes have no problem getting their body in shape
through exercise, but eating is just as important for teen athletes
as practice and strength.
You might have heard that eating loads of protein will help you
get stronger muscles and perform better. It's better to keep
diet and not to overload on anything. You will probably have to
eat a bit more protein than a non-athlete teen, but you don't need
to become a meat-eating protein head! Mostly, muscle strength is
really going to come to you through hard work, training and persistence
on the playing field.
Does your team have pasta parties before the
big game? These parties can be a great way for your teammates to
bond and to create team
spirit, but avoid carb overload. It’s good to have the extra
energy that comes from good grains (try whole wheat pasta in addition
to the regular spaghetti), you should also try to get in some vegetables,
fruits and protein.
Some teens think they need to stay lean and
steer clear of fats. Actually, as a teen athlete, you need fat—more
than you think you do. Unsaturated fats are very important for
your energy rate
because when your body runs out of the energy it gets from simple
sugars found in carbohydrates, it looks for long-term energy in
stored up fats. Being super-thin will only lower your energy level.
very important that you get all of the necessary vitamins and minerals
, especially as a teen athlete. Your body is using
up more energy, so it needs more fuel. Calcium is a very important
for teen athletes because it keeps your bones strong and prevents
stress fractures that can occur when you push your body to its
Many teen athletes have eating disorders. In certain sports
like track, swimming, gymnastics, dancing and figure skating,
disorders are more common because an emphasis is placed on your
weight. Know that compulsive exercise—burning off more calories
than you consume in a day through exercise alone—is another
form of eating disorder, with dangerous side effects. If you feel
pressure by your teammates, parents, coaches or even yourself to
lose weight for your sport, then you should talk to a professional.
There is no reason that you should ever feel pressure to starve
yourself, vomit or over-exercise.