Competitive athletes are continuously busy and they work hard to balance everything they have going on. Between school, competitions, and everything else, it’s important for these athletes to take care of themselves in order to perform at their best. Nutrition is a key part in the performance and maintenance of athlete’s bodies.
But for many high-school athletes, they are turning to the wrong sources for energy and nutrition. Energy drinks seem like a great way to get extra energy before a practice or game, but they aren’t good for you. And they aren’t good for high performance athletes. If you are looking to get recruited by college coaches, you will need to be at your best when it matters most. Energy drinks may not be the way to do it.
Energy drinks, like many processed foods, contain a variety of chemicals instead of natural ingredients. These chemicals can have different effects on your body, especially if consumed in excess. For example, one energy drink can contain several different stimulant ingredients, a combination that can affect your heart rate and blood pressure. If you experience these side effects during vigorous exercise, it could affect your performance and your health.
Dehydration is a huge side effect of energy drinks. And as all athletes know, hydration is crucial to keeping your body healthy and being able to compete at the highest level possible. If you rely on energy drinks for a pick-me-up, you are depriving your bodies of the necessary hydration is needs to function properly.
There is also a lot of sugar in energy drinks. The combination of the stimulants and sugar is what causes the “high energy” or jolts after consumption. However, that same combo causes the crash that many people experience after the effects wear off. Athletes can benefit from bursts of energy, but can you imagine being in the middle of competition when you crash? You definitely won’t perform your best.
High school athletes need to wary of what they eat or drink because it can affect their performance. They also need to be informed of the various ingredients in some of the stuff that they consume, especially if they are looking to get recruited and play sports in college. The NCAA has a list of banned substances that athletes agree not to consume during their career in college. If you test positive for any of them at any time, you can lose your scholarship and your eligibility. Check out the most recent NCAA Banned Substance List here.
This may surprise you, but caffeine is one of the substances on that list! So as a high school athlete, it’s a good idea to develop good eating and drinking habits now so that you can transition into the same routine when you go to college. Here are some other tips to help you make the right choices in the things you eat and drink:
Read the labels: To get a better understanding of what you are putting into your body, you need to read the nutrition labels. Get to know what the ingredients are and do your research. You could save yourself some health problems further down the road.
Look out for warning labels: If you see a warning label on the package, think twice before consuming it. There is a reason they had to put that warning on there and there is no good reason to take the risk.
Talk to a nutritionist: If you have questions about what may help or hurt your athletic performance, ask a nutritionist for their tips and advice. They can help you find ways to get energized without energy drinks.