For the past 25 years, I have worked on and off in the Fitness Industry, and during that time, I have been witness to a lot of change, particularly when it comes to consistent and accurate nutritional advice for athletes. Every month we hear about some new and improved way for people to lose weight and gain muscle, most of which we all know is total bullcrap and biased marketing for predominantly useless “body building” supplements.
The problem however, is that there is so much information out there right now, all of which claiming to be the “best” or “only” system that works, that the average parent or player now has absolutely no idea on where to look or what to actually believe.
It is for that reason that I decided to turn to a very good friend of mine, Doug Willick, CPT and Master Trainer for Willix Personal and Group Training, based out of the historical community of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada (across from Buffalo, N.Y. and adjacent to Niagara Falls).
I needed advice that was simple to follow and simple to understand. And I got it.
James Ryan: Hey Doug! How’s it going?
Doug Willick: Things are going great!
JR: Good to hear. I just found out tonight at football practice that one of my starting players on the Defense, who wasn’t feeling very well and had to sit out for half the game this past weekend, ate four hotdogs and four eggs right before the game. Honestly, I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry.
Okay, I laughed.
But seriously, what’s the absolute BEST nutritional advice for these kids? I was thinking maybe a high carbohydrate meal the night before like pasta or something, and oatmeal and a banana in the morning? Maybe a yogurt or something too? I don’t know. Too many changes lately with how we think about nutrition for athletic competition. What do you think would be best?
DW: A higher carb meal with protein the night before is good. It will help them sleep better too. Bigger meals tend to do that along with a host of other reasons.
Stick with sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, regular potatoes, and whatever meat their moms make for them—preferably lean. Obviously, lots of vegetables too.
I personally eat differently than most people, as far as “when,” but for kids who are eating crap, three meals per day plus a snack would be good.
Get their parents to make them fruit shakes with some protein in the morning and stick some vegetables in the shake—kale, broccoli, etc. The fruit overpowers the veggies and you can’t actually taste them.
If the kids have an early practice, around 5-6 p.m. and don’t have time to eat dinner, then they should have lots of water and a small snack—an apple, a piece of cheese, an orange, and a yogurt an hour before practice or the game. They can eat their dinner after the practice or game. If they finish at 8 p.m. and have to eat dinner then, that’s fine.
Total calories matter the most—not the time of day that they eat. As long as they don’t eat too late, it won’t disrupt their sleep.
Probably the biggest change is just in reducing fast food. Not eliminating it. Why? It probably won’t happen in this fast-paced world. Reduce it and replace it with food that was picked from a tree, plucked from the ground or once walked in a pasture. The responsibility falls to the parents to make these choices for their kids.
JR: Awesome! Thanks again Doug. That’s great advice. Simple and easy enough to prepare.
DW: My pleasure James. Best of luck to the Niagara Storm this season!
Doug Willick having fun with a client and doing his best “sack of potatoes” impression. LOL