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Why do they call it a health craze?

Because the drive to live healthily is crazy powerful. It’s biologically insane to ignore your health.

However, 50% of Americans are vitamin D deficient and 80% are magnesium deficient.

The negative effects of deficiencies include weight gain, lack of energy, and worse.

Nutritional imbalances especially cripple the current and future growth of student athletes.

Without nutritional essentials, ideal strength and stamina are impossible.

Fortunately, this situation is preventable.

Let’s examine four nutrients student-athletes need to reach their best competitive potential.

#1 Magnesium

Magnesium is plentiful in the body, yet 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient.

Magnesium regulates metabolism, stabilizes hormones, and facilitates cardiovascular and neuromuscular functions.

Sweating releases magnesium, so athletes must consume adequate amounts pre-workout.

Low levels impair performance by increasing the oxygen necessary to complete exercise. Deficiencies makes training harder, plus predict muscle spasms, aches, and sleep problems.

Magnesium also detoxifies the body by minimizing damage from environmental chemicals. For example, the antioxidant glutathione requires magnesium for production.

Find magnesium in mangosteen, avocados, and leafy greens. #2 B-Vitamins B vitamins complete two different, essential functions in active bodies. B-complex vitamins like B12 and folate promote protein synthesis, build muscle and repair tissue. Vitamin B12 is called the “energy vitamin” because you suffer from listlessness and “brain fog” without it. Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and biotin are the other group of B-complex vitamins. These ensure energy production. Short-term deficiencies aren’t serious, but longstanding shortages will impair performance.

Vitamins B12 and folate are available through most animal-source foods.

The remaining essential B-complex vitamins are found in lentils, beans, and strawberries.

#3 Antioxidants

Plants naturally produce antioxidants to protect themselves from the damaging effects of sunlight, drought, soil depletion, and excess rain.

When we eat antioxidant-rich plants, our bodies gain the protections of these powerful phytochemicals to help your body repair faster after exercise. Antioxidants protect our cell walls from oxidative damage caused by free radicals via UV radiation, but also decrease the damages of inflammation incurred during exercise.

Chlorophyll within antioxidant-rich sources also combats inflammation. A naturally alkaline-forming compound, chlorophyll fights against the inflammatory effects of lactic acid and high acid diets.

Yes, plants are painkillers.

This means reducing painful inflammation in joints, ligaments, and tendons. You’ll experience improved flexibility and range of motion from reduced swelling. Lower overall acidity translates into a more efficient training routine with minimal recovery time.

The faster you heal, the faster you gain muscle to achieve peak levels of performance. Good nutrition leads to good recovery.  

Plus, you’ll stave off inflammatory diseases like cancer.

Dietary Sources of Antioxidants

Brightly colored berries and green leafy vegetables are best sources of antioxidants. Cilantro, kidney beans, and artichokes hearts are quality choices too.

Blueberries and Goji berries rank the highest in essential antioxidants.

#4 Protein

Protein is essential for muscle growth, weight loss, and hormone production.

Animal protein is great, but carries dietary acidity that inhibits healing and is inconvenient to a fast-paced life.

Whey protein is the answer.

A natural byproduct of cheese, whey contains 20% milk protein.

It delivers amino acids, lactose, minerals and vitamins, plus healthy fats to increase satiety.

Whey enhances glutathione levels, meaning it contributes necessary amino acids for muscle growth – plus antioxidants to reduce bodily stress. Glutathione also maintains blood iron levels for improved physical output.

Among proteins, whey protein enhances performance.

Healthy Sense

The top priority for student athletes looking to building and maintain healthy body mass for competition is balanced nutrition.

Today’s nutrients are all required for energy production, muscle growth, and bodily repair. To play your best, give your body what it needs. That’s common sense sports nutrition.

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Did you know, plants create antioxidants to protect themselves from UV rays, drought, flooding and low-nutrient soil?

Antioxidants guard plants against environmental stress – and by eating plants – we enjoy similar benefits.

So how do antioxidants improve your training and performance?

Antioxidants protect athletes from damaging free radicals created during intense physical activity. Savvy athletes consume antioxidants to reduce the stress from exercise, thus increasing their training and development capacity.

This both prevents bodily damage and accelerates the recovery process, which translates into more training and higher levels of performance than athletes who do not consume adequate amounts of antioxidants.

Continue reading to learn how you can elevate your training with antioxidants.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are natural substances that remove damaging, oxidizing agents from the body.

Intense physical activity creates reactive oxygen, which becomes damaging molecules known as free radicals.

Sustained exposure to free radicals contributes to muscle, joint and ligament inflammation in athletes. This inflammation reduces general mobility, athletic performance and impairs healing. At its worst, damage from free radicals includes arthritis and other inflammatory diseases like cancer.

Antioxidants are the body’s best defense against oxidative damage caused by intense exercise.

Consuming dietary polyphenols – aka plant-based antioxidants – is directly linked to countering the damages of oxidative stress created by exercise. Nature’s most effective sources of neutralizing polyphenols include superfoods like pomegranate, mangosteen and goji berries.

How Do Antioxidants Help You Train Harder?

Regular physical activity creates chronic inflammation in athletes’ bodies. Also known as overuse injuries.

Athletes achieving high levels of performance face chronic inflammation from constant physical activity and an increased risk of injury, including ligament and tendon tears (ACL, MCL, etc). Training five days a week with one day of competition allows only baseline levels of recovery.

To restore wellness and  physical capacity for each new day, athletes should consume pre-workout and post-workout antioxidants. These supplements clear away oxidative free radicals that impede performance as well as provide necessary protein for muscle gains. Managing chronic, low-grade levels of inflammation and oxidative stress is crucial for athletes focused on capturing a competitive advantage and maximizing development.

High-achieving athletes have long relied upon antioxidant-rich plants as natural painkillers. For example, plants high in chlorophyll – like the superfood wheatgrass – are alkaline instead of acid-forming. They increase the amount of good oxygen in the your blood.

Research confirms that increased vascular oxygen elevates physical endurance while simultaneously minimizing swelling and inflammation in joints, tendons and ligaments. This results in everyday improved mobility. Alkaline and antioxidant-rich plants are also proven to help retain lean muscle mass.

Less bodily inflammation adds up to a more flexible, less stiff or swollen body. Quicker recovery means faster healing, which allows for more and greater training output over time. Ultimately, the healthier your body the more you can train and the more competitive and successful you’ll be.

Closing Out

For athletes who want to train at their best every day, clearing away inflammation-causing free radicals is a must. Eliminating unwanted cell damage, preventing injury and improving performance is a matter of essential daily maintenance.

To prioritize long-term athletic potential and simultaneously reduce everyday aches and pains, help your body recover to its fullest. Supplementing with the right antioxidants after exercise is the surefire way to improve recovery times and guarantee your best training potential.

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Everyone knows growing bodies need balanced nutrition for optimal growth. A blend of carbs, fats, and proteins is required for proper physical and mental development and to reach your greatest potential.

Because of intense physical routines, teenage athletes require enhanced nutrition to hit their targets and compete at their best.

Whether you’re looking to run fast, jump high, lift more or simply outperform the competition – adequate protein intake is a key component of your success.

Most people don’t know how much protein they need to maximize muscle gains and training potential.

Today, we’ll explain exactly how much protein teenage athletes need to become bigger, faster and stronger.

How Much Protein is Recommended?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for the average sedentary individual is .36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, per day.

This means a typical, non-active man should consume 56 grams of protein per day – 46 grams of protein per day for the average women.

However, teenage athletes are neither typical nor sedentary. They burn more energy and need the proper nutrients to recover from high-intensity exercise.

Five days of practice, plus games, plus additional strength and conditioning training can easily total 15+ hours of physical activity per week. Muscle growth and overall development  can only occur if exercise and nutrition are aligned.

As we know, protein is the essential macronutrient for repairing and strengthening muscles.

Hard-working teenage athletes should consume between 0.6 – 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That’s double the amount of sedentary people.

Peter Lemon, Professor of Exercise Nutrition at the University of Western Ontario provides a studied conclusion:

“For strength athletes, those numbers are even higher – generally between 0.7 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.”

For example, a 130-pound tennis athlete without strength training would consume 78 grams (0.6 grams/lb) of protein per day. If you’re a 185-pound football player, you’ll want to consume 148 grams of protein (0.8/lb) to satisfy your strength training regimen. Because power athletes must build muscle rapidly, they require higher levels of protein consumption than endurance athletes.

Within your athletic routine, healthy protein selection is critical.

How to Consume Your Ideal Protein Requirement

Balance high-performance protein intake with a complete diet containing smart carbs and healthy fats.

If you’re achieving excellent pre-workout nutrition, it means your daily protein intake is being spared from energy use and is being used to build and maintain lean body mass. Athletes consuming high amounts of protein alongside fats and carbs free up proteins for use as muscle builders instead of fuel sources.

Insufficient energy stores from carbs and fat leads the body to use muscle tissue for energy. To prevent muscle loss, consume adequate carbs before workouts and games and sufficient protein throughout the day and especially within 30 mins after exercise. Supplement essential amino acids 60-90 minutes prior to workouts and whey protein within 30 minutes following to maximize muscle gains.

Your Turn

Exercise increases the body’s need for protein, especially in teenage athletes with developing bodies that need to perform at high levels. Premium protein is how competitive athletes enhance their rate of  building lean muscle mass and perform at their best.

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Being active in competitive sports helps both children and teens develop lifelong healthy habits, teaching them the importance of diligence and hard work, facilitating the development of teamwork skills, and improving self-discipline. However, for the young athlete, staying healthy does require a bit of extra work because of the stress physical activity places on the body. To help your young athlete stay in prime physical condition, check out these seven keys to true health.

  1. Provide sufficient energy to support exercise needs, physical growth, and development. It is important to remember that young athletes are highly active and, therefore, often require more calories than their inactive peers. Depending on your young athlete’s level of physical activity, he or she may need an additional 500 to 1,500 calories per day in order to support his or her exercise needs and still ensure he or she is getting enough energy to support physical growth and development.
  2. Focus on providing healthy snacks. Because young athletes will likely have higher energy needs, they are going to need to eat more. Make sure that your young athlete has three nutritionally balanced meals every day, as well as three or four healthy snacks before and after training. Good snack choices include cheese and crackers, a banana, veggies and dip, and trail mix.
  3. Sufficient fluid intake is crucial. Just like young athletes need sufficient food energy to support their training as well as their physical growth and development, they also need sufficient fluid intake. It’s important to keep in mind that active children are at a greater risk of exercise-induced dehydration than adults are. This is partly because they sweat less than adults and, therefore, are more prone to overheating. But because children often have a less developed sense of thirst than adults, they often need to be prodded to drink. Make sure that your young athlete understands the importance of adequate fluid intake, and encourage him or her to sip water throughout the day and skip the sugary drinks.
  4. Make sure your young athlete is getting enough carbs. Carbs are critical for all athletes, especially young athletes. If your athlete isn’t eating enough carbs, he or she won’t have enough glycogen stores. Without glycogen during physical activity, the body has to use muscle for its energy, which isn’t ideal and could do damage over the long term.
  5. Be aware of common nutritional deficiencies. The most common nutritional deficiencies in young athletes include calcium, vitamin B6, folate, and iron deficiencies. It’s important to understand the signs of these deficiencies and to monitor for them.
      • Calcium: Adequate calcium intake ensures proper bone growth and sufficient bone mass. If your young athlete isn’t getting enough calcium, it can put him or her at risk for fractures and other bone-related injuries.
      • Vitamin B6 and folate: Both vitamin B6 and folate are important pieces of energy metabolism and blood health, as well as amino acid metabolism. Deficiencies can cause fatigue, muscle soreness, and even a loss of cognitive function in a young athlete.
      • Iron: Iron is important for young athletes’ oxygen carrying capacity, and it allows the body to effectively metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. A young athlete who is iron deficient will likely suffer from fatigue and could have a compromised immune system and impaired cognitive function.

    If you are concerned that your young athlete may have some kind of nutritional deficiency, you might want to consider adding a supplement specifically designed for young athletes and their nutritional needs.

  6. Ensure your student athlete is sleeping well. In order to ensure peak performance, wellness, and healthy growth and development, your young athlete needs to get the right amount of sleep. Teenagers, especially active teenagers, may need up to 10 hours per night.
  7. Focus on psychological health, as well as physical health. Remember, health isn’t just physical. It’s also psychological. Therefore, it’s important to create a healthy psychological environment for your young athlete. Help them develop healthy attitudes about achievement and teach him or her how to cope with setbacks when they occur. A psychologically healthy athlete should be able to effectively cope with stress, deal with setbacks, and overcome challenges without losing his or her cool.

The bottom line is that your young athlete needs to stay healthy in order to ensure proper growth and development and maximize athletic performance. That means eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, watching for nutritional deficiencies, and focusing on psychological as well as physical health.

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How Nutrition Impacts Your Athletic Performance & Development - YouTube

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