Basketball is one of the most physically demanding of all sports. It requires an inordinate amount of stamina. Getting ready to play a game, or even practice should involve proper diet. What players eat in their normal daily lives is one part of the equation.
However, what a player chooses to eat before going to the basketball court is even more important. Here are some suggestions on when to eat, how much to eat, and what to eat before hitting the hard court.
When to Eat
Picking the right type of food is important, but knowing when to eat is equally significant. Every basketball player should have a healthy meal, something low in fat, the evening before the game. Include a full and healthy breakfast the morning of game day.
This will allow those nutrients time to digest into their system. As for game day meals, heavier foods should be eaten between 3 and 4 hours before game time. Lighter snacks can be consumed an hour or two before tip-off.
Fruits and liquid energy drinks can be consumed about an hour before play begins, except for milk-based drinks. The best scenario would be to divide up the total amount of food desired for a single pregame meal. Then, eat these smaller servings in equal increments.
Eat manageable portions once every hour, beginning six hours before game time. This may not always be practical, but it will spread food intake out over a period of time. This helps digestion, plus will enhance the efficient use of the vitamins and minerals gained from the food.
What to Eat
The first suggestion is to avoid new or unknown foods. An athlete should eat things they like and are familiar with. Strange foods can have an inclination to cause stomach discomfort. The source of food energy for a game is going to come mostly from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates will be the key ingredient in a good pregame meal. There is no need to overdo it though. To approximate the number of carbs that will be most beneficial, an athlete should first convert their weight to kilograms. Divide the player’s weight in pounds by 2.2.
Then, multiply the player’s weight in kilograms by 4. For example, a 200-pound player should eat around 90 grams of carbohydrates as part of their pregame meal. Again, it is recommended to divide those 90 grams up into six equal portions for maximum efficiency.
The best way to get these carbohydrates is from high-fiber sources. Grains, cereals, and especially pasta, are excellent sources of high-energy carbohydrates. While a high sugar content may provide a sense of an energy rush, it will also leave a player drained in the middle of the game.
Items like low-fat yogurt, with fresh fruit such as bananas and strawberries, are an excellent choice. Whole wheat toast or bagels have excellent carb content, plus they’re low in sugar. One thing not to add to a pregame meal is too much coffee.
Caffeine not only dehydrates the body, but it also creates an inefficient absorption of nutrients. Too much protein and fatty foods should be avoided as well. Focus on lean proteins. For game day meals, restrict the overall protein and fat intake to be about 15% maximum of the total calorie content.
Basketball players need the energy to sustain them during a full game or practice. To make sure they don’t tire because of poor nutrition, these guidelines will help ensure they eat the best food before their basketball game.
Focus on carbohydrate intake, and never eat too soon before a game. When these suggestions are followed, a basketball player will have the necessary energy to last them the whole game. Knowing when to eat is almost as important as knowing what to eat before heading to the basketball court.