There is no shortcut to properly fueling and hydrating your body for optimal energy and recovery. 

Don’t expect to achieve peak performance in your sport if you’re eating like everyone else and simply adding a few supplements to your diet. It’s time to shift gears. And here’s why.

If you’re a young athlete, focus on food first – not supplements – when getting nutrition advice. 

Food impacts energy and recovery

All young athletes need to learn how to increase energy with the proper foods so they can perform at their peak potential and avoid feeling tired and sluggish.

Not only does food impact energy levels – it also impacts recovery. Eating the right foods during the post-exercise phase allows for optimal recovery which helps you prevent injury and illness and continually build strength and speed.

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to reach an elite level in your sport, become a starter on your team or simply make the team – sports nutrition can make the difference between reaching your goals or being left out of the game.

The right food can actually give you the edge

Can the young athlete who eats junk food really get outplayed by the young athlete who fuels themselves properly?  Yes! 

By the time athletes reach adulthood, they intellectually understand the benefits of proper nutrition – but why wait until then to grasp this concept? You can gain the competitive edge right now by making this shift during your youth sports years!

If you’re aspiring to reach the elite level in your sport – say, playing a sport in college – sports nutrition is absolutely critical. Can it make the difference between being considering for division one or division two sports? Can it make the difference between getting looks for college sports or being overlooked by recruiters? Absolutely!

And an elite athlete can become an average athlete by not following specific sports nutrition strategies. So it’s important to adopt sound sports nutrition strategies and keep following them.

Eating correctly impacts more than just sports

Not only will sports nutrition give you a much better chance of attaining your athletic goals and a competitive edge, it will help you achieve your academic and life goals too. Feeling better, having more energy, and experiencing fewer illnesses and injuries all help you meet the demands of school, sports, and other activities. 

Young aspiring athletes spend a lot of time balancing school, homework, practices, and traveling. If you’re one of these athletes, you’re putting in a tremendous amount of effort. By leaving out the critical component of sports nutrition, it can all be for nothing.

Feel like you’re grinding gears?

When sports nutrition is left out of the cycle of training, competition, and recovery, it is like grinding gears instead of shifting gears. You might feel like you’re grinding gears if you:

  • Feel exhausted
  • Feel slow
  • Lose focus during practice, games, and school
  • Struggle to put on lean muscle mass
  • Get sick more than normal or struggle to shake an illness
  • Feel confused about what and when to eat
  • Struggle with dehydration

So don’t get caught grinding gears. Learn about youth-focused sports nutrition from the experts. Board certified sports dietitians, like Tracy Owens at NextGear Nutrition, know what young athletes need to be successful. By following sound nutrition guidelines, you can outlast – and out perform – your competitors.

Tracy Owens

About Tracy Owens

Tracy Owens (MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN) is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She has worked in private practice, providing clinical and sports nutrition for over 20 years. Her two sons and two daughters have played AAU baseball, USSSA baseball, Legion baseball, Challenge, United, Premier, Elite and ECNL soccer at Capital Area Soccer League (CASL), USTA tennis, summer swim teams, and high school football, swimming, baseball and soccer. Two of her children played Division 1 soccer at North Carolina State University.

Change Your Nutrition and Change Your Game!