Metabolism for Athletes


Metabolism and How it Works For Athletes!
by Phil Hueston, IYCA YFS-1,
NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

Here's a concept that you must understand. You need to understand that improving your eating habits and improving your performance are related. It all depends on how you fuel your body. The fuel you put in your body will determine how your metabolism works and how much energy you have for athletic performance!


Let's use a simplified definition of metabolism. Metabolism means the rate at which your body burns through food. Simple enough, right? Most athletes have fast metabolisms (which allow them to burn lots calories). As a result, it is important that you fuel your body with food frequently throughout the day. I'll say it again: Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism fired up, and keep you ready to perform at your best. "Getting" this will mean the difference between performing at a high level on a consistent basis and performing in fits and starts! "Getting" this will allow you to "get it done" any time you want!

To play well and stay in top shape, you are going to eat 5 meals a day. In fact, you're going to eat
at least 5 meals a day if you want to practice and play at your best! It might not completely make sense to you yet,
but as you begin to understand metabolism, and as you begin getting the results that you want,
your comfort level with eating this many meals will increase.

I'll explain further as we go along, but for now, "get" that you need to eat supportively and every 3 to 3 ½ hours. "Supportive eating" means making sure that each meal consists of a lean protein, a starchy carbohydrate and a fibrous carbohydrate.
No pre-processed "diet food" made of make believe ingredients and "pseudo-foods!"

Here's a
short list of proteins, starchy carbs and fibrous carbs to get you started:
Lean Protein: tuna in water, egg whites, chicken breast, fat free dairy, flaky fish, tofu
Starchy Carbohydrates: potato, sweet potato, tomato, whole grains, oatmeal
Fibrous Carbohydrates: broccoli, cauliflower, onion, celery, peppers, cucumber, greens

I'm going to make a bold, borderline sacrilegious statement here:
You don't need "diets" to fuel your body for top-level athletic performance! Nor will you have to eat massive protein bars or gallons of protein shakes. This is all bad information that you have been given. Bad, bad, bad. Erase it from your mind.

Does that mean that protein supplement shakes are never going to be a part of the nutritional support program for your training? No, it simply means that unless you dial in your food intake and content first, the supplements aren't going to help you gain muscle, they're simply going to replace missing, high quality calories. So your body will use them as fuel and you don't gain the muscle you're hoping for.

Top performing athletes know that food is a tool to be used to hone the athletic body

to a sharp-edged weapon! Along with intelligent, challenging athletic and skills training,
it's the thing that will separate winners from wanna-bes!

So start planning your food intake to support your success! We'll be glad to help!