PART 3: “Feeding a Teenage Athlete”
I have continued to work with Edin Sehovic following my illness and am learning so much from him to aid my tennis and growth into my body during my teenage years. His advice on what I should fuel my body with before, during and after tennis will no doubt help protect my immune system, prevent my body from getting injured and give the required energy levels I need to train. He is also educating me on the calorie intake I require relative to how active I am and to aid my body’s development. This is interesting stuff! What I do with Edin and Holly is certainly helping me at school, especially in the subject of Health and Fitness. Edin will now add his thoughts on what can be done to help teenagers and young athletes during this period of body change.
“As common knowledge dictates, we are now aware that diet and exercise are two of the most important and influential variables that we can control in order to improve our performance in sport and our quality of life as well. We consume various different foods every day and the types and quantities of food have an immense influence on the health we experience day to day. One of the biggest troubles for young athletes, is growth spurts. In many cultures, growth spurts are welcomed, and even celebrated. In reality, for an athlete, having a growth spurt changes how their body is able to perform. Now all of a sudden, they are getting taller, their steps longer, their feet are usually growing in length and width, which throws their balance off, and not to mention, muscular repair is hindered due to the body prioritizing growth. In common English, the young athlete is eating a never-ending quantity of food, but it seems to never be enough. Here are a couple of tips to make sure you’re doing your best to get through the growth spurt.
Eat whole foods; I say this because whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole wheat, pulses, legumes are all filled with vital nutrients to aid in fuelling and recovering the athletes. When growing as an athlete, certain micronutrients can become vital, and ensuring you eat a diet almost entirely of whole foods is the easiest way to ensure you’re getting the best fuel you need to stay on top of your growth spurt. Avoiding packaged/ Super-Processed foods is a must!
Eat High Protein; If the athlete doesn’t consume enough protein, then the repair of muscle fibres is hindered, and they are not able to optimize their performance in the future due to improper recovery.
Eat Your Biggest Meals After Training; This is because you will not have to worry about any gastrointestinal problems during your training and will therefore not have a reduced rate of performance. It’ll help you avoid symptoms like belching, nausea, flatulence, intestinal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhoea etc. This is not to say that meals beforehand are less important, I simply suggest that you eat your biggest meals immediately after training sessions.
If you would like more information you can feel free to contact me via my website www.edinsehovicnutrition.com or my email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to follow my Instagram: @Edinsehovicnutrition, Twitter: Edinsehovicc to find more tips on Healthy eating and nutrition, and I welcome all of your questions.”
Sam and Edin