Question: My breakfast, if I have time, is a drive-thru. I grab and go at school, and after practice I’m starving, so a lot of times it’s another drive-thru. I feel sluggish a lot and wonder if I should eat better. How much difference does food make? It’s all calories, right?
Answer: What you eat affects all of your training results, your energy levels and even your moods. If you eat food that is rich in nutritional value, meaning it contains vitamins, minerals or other nutrients; your body can process and utilize them. Those nutrients are used for energy, repair and growth.
If you consume foods that are calorie-rich but lacking nutrients, then the calories you’re eating do little more than get stored as glycogen or more likely, fat. The things we eat containing little nutritional value are usually processed foods since they are mass-produced. This processing requires chemicals to protect the items and allow them a longer storage life. In theory, some of these additives can be passed on to us as we eat and digest these foods.
While these substances may not be harmful to our bodies in small amounts, if we eat them in larger quantities, they may have a negative effect with time. If you have to get food from a window in a wall, then do it occasionally. Don’t make it so regular that the workers recognize the sound of your car when you drive up.
In the documentary and book “Supersize Me”, Morgan Spurlock demonstrated how detrimental fast food was by eating it every meal for a month. He gained more than 24 pounds and his cholesterol rose to more than 230. He also documented the mood swings he experienced during that month.
If you plan to be a high-performance athlete, then your body needs high-performance foods. Eat low-fat protein sources like fish and chicken more regularly. When you do eat beef, choose leaner cuts and lowerfat burgers. Reduce the amount of bread, especially white bread and pasta you eat. Eat fresh fruit for snacks. Vegetables are a necessity. Drink water and eliminate sodas. You’re young, but make an effort to choose healthier foods.
What you eat and drink on Sunday has an effect on how you perform on Monday. Each day recognize that you’re planning how well your day will go, physically, the next day. The changes you make and the healthy habits you establish will affect your lifespan and the quality of it.
God bless and keep training,