Winter is coming and although lacrosse season seems far away, it will be here before you know it. The best way to make use of this season – as well as prepare for the next – is by training for it. However, the sole focus is never just exercise; what you eat matters, too. As the old saying goes, you can never out-exercise a bad diet.
Personally, eating healthier was harder for me than working out. I tend to underperform (as many do) when I don’t drink enough water or eat enough during the day. It impacted my lax season negatively and I decided to turn things around at the beginning of this year. Overall, it makes working out a lot easier and made it easier to gain energy and strength.
Nutrition for the Lacrosse player is significant when it comes to keeping in shape. Without necessary nutrients, the body will be less efficient in utilizing energy. A consistent diet and balanced meals are all that is needed to achieve healthy nutrition. There are certainly plenty of suggestions out there when it comes to which diet you should follow. Vegetarian, raw, vegan, Mediterranean and limitless other styles, brands, methods await the conscientious eater.
This article was not written with the intention to sway you toward one particular diet but rather to give you basic information to help you choose what’s best for you. With that said, here are the main categories of “macronutrients” to which all food can be divided.
What is Food?
Proteins: These are used by the body to build and repair muscle. It is also beneficial in terms of producing chemicals such as hormones. In addition, proteins can also serve as a source of energy when the body is lacking in fats and carbohydrates. Can be found in: eggs, meats (chicken, turkey), pistachios, milk.
Carbohydrates: Acting as a quick source of energy, they do not stay in the body long after consumption. After being broken down into either glucose or sugar, they can be used to power the brain and simply provide fuel for activities. Can be found in: grains (pasta), fruits, vegetables, starches (potatoes).
Fats: Fats are essential in terms of nutrition. While they can sometimes have a bad reputation, any real negative effects of fat lies in the type of fat consumed. There are three main types: unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats. A healthy diet will focus mainly on the unsaturated type, which is broken down into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3, found in the primary of the two, aids in regulating blood pressure as well as growth and repair of tissues/muscles. Other benefits include reduced risk of heart diseases and diabetes. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats provide similar positive effects in addition to reducing cholesterol levels. Can be found in: pumpkin seeds, avocados, healthy oils.
A good diet should:
Although this isn’t an endorsement of any particular diet, there are a common set of characteristics that are found in diets that are effective and successful in the long term.
- Easy to maintain: Sure, anyone can bring 17 plastic containers of precisely weighed foods that are eaten at an exact time of day but how long can you realistically keep that up? Try to think about a “new way of eating” rather than a “diet.”
- Within your budget: Your perfect diet awaits you at the health food superstore but please be sure that your wallet isn’t what winds up losing the most weight.
- Not always in a package: A diet that is dependent on supplements or pre-made/pre-processed foods will let you down in the long run.
- Allows room for mistakes: Whether you call it a mistake or a cheat, any diet that does not know how to deal with the occasional meal that derails your diet is not one that is sustainable. The frequency in which these take place will dictate whether or not they throw you off completely or just set you back a little bit.
- Has a track record: It’s probably not a bad idea to wait for a few early adopters to test out a diet before you try it for yourself. The internet is a treasure trove of reviews, opinions and testimonials. Try avoiding the sites that seem like they have something to gain by you choosing that diet. Stick with neutral sites like Reddit for a pure and honest opinion.
What are you waiting for?
The off-season is a great time to hone in on a nutrition plan that is right for you. Trying to make big changes to your diet during the Lacrosse season can potentially disrupt the rhythm of your season.
A healthy lifestyle that proves especially beneficial for sports such as lacrosse depends not only on exercise, but diet as well. Making sure that you’re eating what’s best for you will help in training and gaining nutrients. So plan to put nutrition at the top of your off-season priorities. Pick a plan and stick with it now so you have one less thing to play catch-up on when the season starts.