To achieve your best performance, it’s vital that those calories come from the right balance of nutrient-dense foods during training as well as before and after a game.
Poor eating habits can significantly affect your abilities as a volleyball player. Contact your doctor or a specialist in sports nutrition if you’re having trouble developing a diet that helps you grow as an athlete.
Center on Carbohydrates
One of the worst diet mistakes a female volleyball player can make is to consume too few carbohydrates, according to information provided to the Clemson University Women’s Volleyball team.
Women volleyball players should aim to fulfill approximately 50 to 60 percent of their daily caloric needs with carbohydrates, notes Dorfman. While grains are a good way to obtain carbohydrates, foods like fruits, vegetables and dairy products are also excellent sources.
A woman athlete consuming 2,400 calories daily could obtain enough carbohydrates through four servings of grains, three servings of vegetables, four servings of fruit and four servings of dairy products per day. Stick with whole-grain items like whole wheat bread or brown rice, fresh produce and low- or nonfat dairy items such as yogurt or milk.
Go Lean on Protein
Protein should make up 10 to 25 percent of a woman volleyball player’s diet. Avoid high-fat, high-sodium protein sources like full-fat dairy, fried or processed foods and fatty cuts of meat.
Instead, focus on skinless poultry, fish, egg whites, low- or nonfat dairy products, beans and legumes, nuts, seed and lean cuts of beef or pork. While you should eat some protein with every meal, the Colorado State Extension website cautions that a diet containing too much protein can lead to dehydration.
Fill Up on Fluid
Women volleyball players shouldn’t wait until they’re thirsty to replace the fluids they lose to sweat during practices and matches. Volleyball players should consume at least 2 cups of fluid before and after training or competing, as well as drink between 4 and 6 ounces while actively playing, advises Dorfman.
Water should be your first choice, but it’s important to include commercial or homemade electrolyte drinks that can replenish the potassium and sodium that leaves the body in sweat. Even when at rest, female volleyball players need to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated at all times. A typical day should include a minimum of 9 cups of fluid.
Don’t Skimp on Heart-Healthy Fats
Between 15 and 30 percent of your daily calories as a female volleyball player should come from fat. A high intake of solid fats, such as butter and lard, may increase your risk of high blood cholesterol and heart disease.
Instead, fulfill your fat requirements with healthy poly- and monounsaturated vegetable oils such as olive or canola oil. The average female volleyball player can consume about 6 teaspoons of these fats daily. The rest of your dietary fat should come from healthy sources such as nuts, avocados and fatty fish like salmon.
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