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Most amateur football players recognize the value of dedicated work on the field. They understand that only through an incredible amount of practice and repetition can they transform from young beginners into future stars. As a result, it is not uncommon to find thousands of young football fanatics performing an impressive number of drills on the turf with the intention of becoming a better athlete. They also tend to actively seek out the aid of coaches and teammates to help improve their game. Yet, few of them recognize the importance of nutrition within the sport. In fact, a strong work ethic in the kitchen will often accelerate the improvements made from all the work on the grass.
Before explaining the benefits of proper nutrition, it is important to define what the term implies. Having a solid nutrition plan consists of a first consuming a healthy diet that is high protein in nature, with moderate fats and carbohydrates. The type and quality of the foods eaten is also crucial; organic and grass-fed meats are from healthy animals and thus provide better nourishment. Fresh fruits and vegetables deliver high levels of antioxidants to the bloodstream, which boost many of the everyday functions in the body.
But there are also certain categories of foods that should be avoided or minimized— these products may prove detrimental to an athlete’s progress in the long run. Most importantly, consumption of foods high in sugar and trans fat need to be monitored. Additionally, alcohol in the form of beer and liquor should be held to a two-drink daily maximum to maintain solid health. Usage of common sense will prove to be the most effective technique in the long run when deciding what and how much to consume.
There are a wide variety of reasons to emphasize how crucial proper nutrition is. The first significance is its effect on body composition. Like most sports, football is a brutal test of a youngster’s physical abilities. Powerful leg strength and speed, cardiovascular stamina, and flexibility are some of the traits found in these athletes. Eating a healthy diet consisting of a wide variety of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables encourages the improvement of one’s body composition.
When a football player’s muscle to body fat ratio is lowered, their fitness levels will increase in coordination. In addition, their overall health is improved. Another much neglected component of the sport is the psychological aspect. One’s concentration is sharpened within the player. If the football player is feeling great, he will have more confidence in his skills and thus be able to focus on the game with greater intent.
The importance of nutrition also runs on the cellular level. The thousands of yards run, hundreds of balls kicked, and numerous opponents battled with can be damaging to the cells of the human body. Proper nutrition with the intake of numerous necessary vitamins and minerals replenishes the body for future growth and repair. Making healthy eating choices gives the body the building blocks it needs to build muscle, strengthen bones, and heal overworked organs.
Of course, you cannot neglect proper hydration. Water is a huge component of adequate nutrition, especially for amateur football players. After spending hours performing tough physical activity in the hot sun, these athletes are the most at risk of succumbing to dehydration. Consequences of the condition range from sidelining a player for a few games to requiring hospitalization in extreme circumstances. It is recommended that an athlete drink about a gallon of water a day. Though this seems rather radical, amateur football players lose a lot more water during a regular day than average humans and thus should adjust their water intake accordingly.
Good nutrition, along with hard work on the field, will lead to success in the sport. Note that it is not difficult to eat healthier, and does not have to be time consuming. Rather than having burgers and fries at fast food restaurants, eat a salad. Precook lean meats and vegetables in bulk so you can quickly heat up meals.
In addition, take a multivitamin every morning with breakfast—it only takes a second. Adequate nourishment of the body will not only make one a better football player, but also a happier and healthier person.
Written by Jun Zhang
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