Written and Media by Allyson Mitchell.
Does what you eat really make a difference? Every athlete’s pregame routine is different just like everyone has their own superstitions about what makes them perform their best. For example, some listen to a song that pumps them up while others wear a specific undergarment. But what about the athletes that have the same meal before every game?
Most athletes have heard the saying, “It starts in the kitchen.” Research proves that a healthy eating style has an effect on performance.
During offseason, athletes choose whether they maintain, lose, or gain weight. To lose weight, they must eat lean protein at every meal, take in low calories, and eat highly nutritious foods (snacking is okay if it’s in moderation and aligns with your plan). For losing weight, consuming a large meal at the beginning of the day is recommended because it burns the most calories throughout the day. Maintaining weight requires a different mindset. It can be difficult to accomplish during offseasons because physical activity decreases. It’s suggested to decrease calorie intake and cut back portion sizes during this time. When it comes to gaining weight, male athletes often fit this category because they want to get bigger, faster and stronger. As a result, they eat a high amount of calories often.
Professional Athletic Opinions About Pregame Meals:
Derrick Rose, 2011 NBA MVP, has a sugar addiction. He’s at an elite level but cannot and eats a lot of fast food and sugars. His personal chef tried to get him off of the unhealthy diet, but Rose is still performing at a high level. He believes it helps him play well and refuses to risk performance due to a diet change.
Brian Urlacher, former Chicago Bear linebacker, eats two chocolate chip cookies before every game. He believes his energy comes from the cookies.
Each of these professional athletes has a pregame ritual or meal. It’s shocking that the meals aren’t healthy considering their level of play.
GC Athletic Opinions About Pregame Meals:
A sophomore women’s basketball player, Jantzen Michael, said she typically eats healthy on a daily basis. She eats light before games: raw veggies, chicken breast, fruit. Michael commented on her diet, “I bring a granola bar to the bench and have it before every game.” Her diet does not change much between the season and offseason. Michael ranked herself a nine out of 10 on the healthy scale.
Sophomore, Johnny Milabu, is on the men’s volleyball team. He expressed, “I sort of have this unhealthy ritual that started in high school. I like to eat a pack of starbursts before each game.”
So, does food affect an athlete’s performance? Only you can be the judge. Next time you are preparing for a big game, what will you eat?