For U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, one of the key components to the holistic approach to player development is providing nutrition education. Years and years of scientific study have proven that proper nutrition leads to better performance. During the training camp in Phoenix, the U.S MNT received instruction and advice from Danielle LaFata, the Director of Performance Nutrition at Athletes’ Performance. She even took them shopping!
But since these are elite athletes being assisted by the best coaches, nutrition experts and training staffs, these rules must be impossible for a normal person to follow, right? Actually, you can.
While the science is complex, the guidelines are fairly simple. Athletes’ Performance has done a nice job laying out the message that make it easy for anyone to follow, from the most experienced athletes to those looking for a healthier lifestyle.
You asked what information Athletes’ Performance gave to the players? Like everything else Klinsmann has done so far with the team, it’s an open book. So here you go:
The 10 Nutrition Rules To Live By
1. COME BACK TO EARTH: Choose the least processed forms of food such as fruits, veggies, whole grains and high fiber carbohydrates.
2. EAT A RAINBOW OFTEN: Eat fruits or vegetables with each meal. Choose a wide variety of colors for the biggest benefit.
3. THE LESS LEGS THE BETTER: Include a LEAN protein source with each meal.
4. EAT HEALTHY FATS: Include healthy fats in your diet like olive oil, nuts, natural nut butters, seeds, avocado, fish, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.
5. EAT BREAKFAST EVERY DAY: When you eat within 30 minutes of waking up, you jump start your metabolism. This gives you more energy to get your day going.
6. THREE FOR THREE: Eat smaller portions more often, spread evenly across the day. No excuses – you should be eating 4-6 meals/day! Aim for all three macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) every three hours for optimal fueling.
7. STAY HYDRATED: Dehydration = Decreased Performance. Drink at least three liters of non-caloric beverages (water/green tea) every day.
8. DON’T WASTE YOUR WORKOUT: Have a post-workout recovery meal or shake that combines both carbs and protein immediately after your training.
9. SUPPLEMENT WISELY: Fuel first and supplement second. If you are not getting what you need through food, add a multivitamin supplement into your daily routine. Create a smart supplementation program that improves your performance without compromising your health or draining your wallet. Before you take any type of supplement, make sure to check in with your doctor or registered dietitian.
10. SLEEP: Aim for eight hours of sleep. If you can’t get eight hours daily, consider power naps when you can. The body recovers and repairs best when it is sleeping.
And to finish off …
The 80/20 Rule: Each meal and snack is an opportunity to fuel your body optimally. Choose the foods that are best for you 80% of the time and incorporate some of those foods that may not be the best, but are your favorites, 20% of the time!