Monday, October 3, 2011

Game Day Fueling and Hydration

RT Staff Note: Julie Nicoletti B.S., a pharmacist, sports nutritionist, and co-founder of Kinetic Fuel, LLC, based in Massachusetts. She is also a faithful reader of Rounding Third and works in many capacities with the New England Ruffnecks as well. You can contact Julie at Enjoy!
RT Staff

The premise is simple. If you want to play a great game and be injury free over a long season, you need to think like an athlete and eat and drink properly. Baseball is as much a mental game as a physical one. You need to be alert and able to make split second decisions for the right play. Baseball games are frequent, without much time for rest during the season. They are mostly played in hot, humid weather, which makes hydration imperative. They can be long, and may include double headers, so fueling your body and your brain is a crucial factor in performance.

3 Simple Suggestions for Success

1. Plan ahead and pack a cooler with enough of the right food, drinks, and snacks.
2. Never skip breakfast. Bring it to go if you need to leave home early in the morning.
3. When traveling to tournaments, make the best possible choices when it comes to where to stop and what to order.

Pre game: Players should eat a carbohydrate rich, low fat meal including protein 3-4 hours before a game (for the high school season, that could be lunch) and a high carbohydrate snack 1 hour pre game. Players should drink about ½ liter of cold water up to 1 hour before.

Meal ideas:
Oatmeal w/ berries or cinnamon and apple, 1% or skim milk mixed w/ Ovaltine
Egg/egg whites, or tuna, cheese on wheat bagel or bread, fruit or juice
Protein pancakes, fruit, low fat chocolate milk
Protein shake or smoothie: yogurt, milk, berries, pro powder
Meatball, turkey or lean ham sandwich on whole grain bread w/ lettuce, tomato, fruit, yogurt
Pasta (Barilla Plus is a good choice) w/ red sauce, lean meatballs or baked chicken cutlet, milk
Peanut butter and banana sandwich on wheat, add agave/honey or raisins, yogurt
Turkey chili w/ crackers and Mexican cheese, water

Snack ideas:
banana, apple or orange and 8-12 oz Gatorade
oats or low fat granola (Bare Naked Fit) mixed into yogurt x 2, Gatorade
Raisins, apricots, banana chips, mixed w/ multigrain Cheerios/Chex cereal, G’rade
Clif bar, water or milk
Graham crackers, banana, Gatorade

During game:
Players should hydrate at every break in play, alternating between water and Gatorade. Drink as much as is tolerated. Use time in the dugout or between games to hydrate and refuel with a snack. Pitchers, because they expend more energy than other players and are in the sun longer, as well as catchers who wear heavy equipment, need to pay special attention to hydration. Muscle dehydration of 3% can cause about 10% loss of contractile strength and 8% loss of speed.

Between a Double Header:
Players need to replenish carbohydrate stores and fuel their bodies quickly and without stomach upset. Avoid fat because fat slows digestion and absorption of nutrients. That means grilled chicken breasts or extra lean ground beef or turkey burgers, fruit and water or Gatorade would be much better choices than hotdogs, chips and soda or pizza. Or bring a turkey sandwich, yogurt and fruit for between games. Choose from the list of pregame meals or snacks for additional options that would serve you well.

Recovery: For maximum benefit, you must eat a recovery snack/meal within 15-30 minutes after a game. Protein is used for repair and growth of muscle tissue. Carbohydrates replace used glycogen (stored energy). Recovery today is preparation for tomorrow.

Recovery ideas:
EAS Myoplex Ready to Drink protein shake, or 100% Whey protein powder mixed with water, plus 8-12 oz Gatorade, and either raisins, dried apricots or a piece of fruit
EAS Myoplex RTD protein shake or pro powder, string cheese, apple
Protein pancakes, banana w/ 1-2 TBSP natural peanut butter
Yogurt plus fruit
Turkey sandwich on wheat, fruit, Gatorade or low fat chocolate milk

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