My daughter recently started playing volleyball and, as we progressed into the season, I quickly realized that her diet needs became more essential and timely. Below are highlights of an article published by the ACC:
The daily nutrition goal for volleyball players is to maintain an adequate energy intake to fuel both practice and conditioning sessions. This means adequate energy in the form of calories from carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The dietary reference intake for carbohydrates is 130 grams per day to maintain proper brain function. Volleyball players need more carbohydrate due to their activity levels. A range of 6-8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight should be adequate to supply volleyball players with the energy needed to compete at a high level. To get adequate amounts of carbohydrates, volleyball players should focus on whole grain products, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. (See yesterday’s post for healthy options.)
Daily protein recommendations for volleyball players should be between 1.0-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. This range will ensure that there is adequate protein available for muscle growth and tissue repair from strenuous training session. Foods like red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, beans and nuts are all sources of protein for volleyball players.
Recommendations for dietary fat intake are 20-30 % of total calories for the day. Fat is necessary for the transport of fat soluble vitamins and is a vital component of every cell in the body. There are also essential fatty acids that the body can not create and we must get from out diet. The best advice is to avoid visible fat like greasy burgers and choose healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Pre-Game Nutrition: This meal should be consumed approximately 3 hours prior to warm-up so that it does not interfere with playing time. This meal is not the time to experiment with new foods. The pre-game meal should be rich in carbohydrates, since they are the primary fuel source for working muscles. A high quality protein source is also essential for this meal. Protein will help the “staying power” of the meal, slowing the digestion process and preventing the player from entering the match feeling empty. A good pre-game meal might include a grilled chicken sandwich with a baked potato topped with broccoli and salsa; a grilled chicken breast covered in marinara sauce atop a dish of pasta; or a turkey sub sandwich with a serving of pretzels. All of these meals provide a good amount of both carbohydrates and protein and are appropriate pre-game meals. Add approximately 32 fluid ounces of water.
Post Game Nutrition: Body weight (in pounds) / 2 = Grams of carbohydrates. It has been found that the addition of protein to this post game meal/snack aids in the storage of carbohydrates as well as in the recovery of muscle fibers. The most commonly recognized ratio of carbohydrates to protein is 3:1. For example, a 150 pound player would recover most optimally by consuming a post game meal/snack that consisted of 75 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of protein.
Note any similarities between yesterday’s post about a runner’s diet? Focusing on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and adequate fluids are essential to an active lifestyle. What’s your game?