| Athletics is becoming increasingly competitive.
More and more stress is being placed on how well you perform. To reach
your highest potential, all of your body systems must be perfectly tuned.
Nothing is more important to your well-being and ability to perform than
good nutrition. Eating the right foods helps you maintain desirable body
weight, stay physically fit, and establish optimum nerve-muscle reflexes.
Without the right foods, even physical conditioning and expert coaching
aren't enough to push you to your best. Good nutrition must be a key part
of your training program if you are to succeed.
There is no one "miracle food" or supplement that can supply all of your nutritional needs. Certain foods supply mainly proteins, other foods contain vitamins and minerals, and so on. The key to balancing your diet is to combine different foods so that nutrient deficiencies in some foods are made up by nutrient surpluses in others. Eating a variety of foods is the secret.
The nutrients--the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water--are teammates that work together to provide good nutrition. Just as each team member carries out different tasks during a game, each nutrient performs specific functions in your body. A lack of just one nutrient is a disadvantage to your body, just as losing a player to the penalty box is a disadvantage for a hockey team. Your body needs all these nutrients all of the time, so the foods you eat should supply them every day.
Just because you are not hungry does not necessarily mean that your body has all the nutrients it needs. You can fill up on foods that contain mostly carbohydrates and fats, but your body still has basic needs for proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
Robert J. Reber, Associate Professor in Nutrition
Donald K. Layman, Professor in Nutrition.
A copy of this guide is available in Adobe Acrobat format through
of Illinois Extension VISTA web site.
A copy of this guide is available in Adobe Acrobat format through the University of Illinois Extension VISTA web site.