If you’ve ever eaten junk food before hitting the basketball court, you’ve probably noticed yourself shooting bricks ahoy. It may have been hard to run, you may have had to take breaks and you may have even said to yourself “If only that hoop were as big as my waistline.” However, don’t worry. If you want to dominate the court, there are five very simple, even delicious, diet changes you can take to step your game up. And we mean, transform your game completely. That’s because diet and nutrition play a HUMUNGOUS part of being a good athlete. Most people don’t relate better nutrition with better basketball skills. But if you put premium fuel in a car, it will perform better than cheap fuel. A Ferrari running on sugar will break down quicker than a Pinto running off premium fuel. Same with your body. A healthy bench boy could probably beat a malnutritioned (and thus) exhausted Carmelo Anthony. All because of diet and nutrition! Thus, here are five nutritional tips that you can incorporate today to become a much stronger, better basketball player.
5. Eat lots of complex carbohydrates Complex carbohydrates replenish your body’s glycogen levels that are depleted during a workout. In English? It’s fuel for our bodies when we exercise. Make sure to eat potatoes, whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and leafy greens if you plan on exerting a lot of energy. Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is a big fan of pasta and rice because carbs give him energy and stamina during long games. Avoid the wrong types of carbohydrates, or simple carbs (cakes, cookies, junk food), as they’re high in sugar and low in fiber. You won’t be at your best if you eat too many of those.
4. Drink lots of Water This is an absolute must. Drink lots of water. Since the body is 70% water, you need to make sure you hydrate or you’ll start getting dizzy. Basketball takes a lot of running back and forth. You’re going to be sweating a lot, so always replenish your body with water. Sport drinks and protein shakes can be good, but water is always better.
3. Eat Raw Fruits and Vegetables Not only are they high in complex carbs, but vegetables also supply the body with A LOT of oxygen, which you need in order to huff and puff. Eat plenty vegetables. Also, eat lots of raw fruits. Citrus fruits, like oranges, are excellent choices. Also berries. Not only do they taste good and give you energy, but they give you all the oxygen you need to work out. Even your concentration on the court will improve because oxygen travels to your brain, as well. Bananas are also a perfect food to eat before exercising because of its healthy sugars and vitamins. Try it and you’ll see your energy levels soar. No one will be able to touch you.
2. Eat lots of Protein Protein is a key to energy and strength. More energy equals the more defenders you burn on the court. Make sure to eat a lot of lean meats such as fish, chicken breast and sea food. Look at the greatest. Miami Heat stars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James constantly eat proteins like steaks, chicken and fish, which is how they get stronger. But they also avoid fatty foods like pork. Fatty foods take longer to digest, so they’ll make you feel bloated when you’re playing. Not cool. Avoid them before a game. Nuts are also terrific sources of protein because they’re very lean. They also energize your brain, which can turn you into an assassin on the court.
1. Eat Foods that Are Healthy for the Heart A healthier heart equals better basketball. Simple as that. Why else do some folks have heart attacks while working out? Can you last long without a healthy heart? Thus, eat heart-healthy foods and you’ll last for hours. Do this. Stir a teaspoon of cayenne pepper into a glass of water and drink it. That alone will make you feel…on fire. Also eat oats. The fiber in oats nourishes your heart, as well, you can even start with Cheerios. When you drive in the paint, burn defenders and drop deuces during a fast tempo game, your boys will be wondering where you get your juice from.
Extra tip: Eat before and after you train Always eat a couple hours before you train, even if it’s just a light snack. If you work out without fuel, your “car” will break down. Not only break down, but your immune system might start failing and that’s never a good thing. Also, eat after a workout to replenish the energy you used. If you’re good to your body, your body will be good to you. Pay attention to its signals and obey them. Your body wants you to excel. Listen and you will be a BEAST. Now go out there and get that triple-double! On the court, not at McDonald’s.