Your Diet Matters
As is the case with most sports, just winning the genetic lottery won’t take you very far in Basketball if you don’t have the right conditioning and discipline. Having a well-planned out nutritious diet is one of the determining factors on the court. With this in mind, I’m going to throw some light on 3 key nutrients – Protein, Carbs, and Fats. We are going to get all crazy and talk about all the diet fads, just some basic nutrition knowledge. Keep in mind different body types may require different amounts and proportions of macro nutrients.
Proteins – More be good!
With protein, get ‘em when you can is common wisdom. Protein is the raw material needed to build and grow muscle mass. Athletes, and even window installers – haha, this is a shout out to my good friend Barry, are looking to build a lean, strong physique, with minimal fat. So it’s no surprise that protein is needed in every meal for a basketball player to be in top condition. It is said that you need 0.8 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
One should always choose lean (having minimal fat) protein sources – lean beef and pork, chicken, eggs, fish, turkey, etc. Nuts are another good source of protein worth incorporating in your diet.
Carbohydrates – Eat ‘em when you need ‘em
Carbohydrates are the fuel that your body needs for any activity. While carbs will form the majority of your diet, they should be consumed in proportion to the amount of physical work you’ll be doing. Excess carbs will be stored in the body as fat, and we don’t won’t that, do we!
However, with carbs, things aren’t that simple. There are good carbs, and then there are bad carbs.
The ones we refer to as bad carbs are ‘simple carbohydrates’. Simple carbs get digested very quickly, and therefore they lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels in our body. This spike in blood sugar levels gives us an instant rush of energy. So, you get a surge of energy quickly – how is that bad for you? There’s a catch. Shortly after the boost in blood sugar levels, there will be an equally fast decline in these levels. This would cause you to become tired and hungry, and stressed. So essentially, it’s a rapid process – energy comes fast, goes away at an equally rapid rate. Relying a lot on simple carbs can have serious health effects down the line. Moreover, simple carbs usually have negligible vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Fibre is central to digesting well, and it helps in keeping blood sugar levels stable.
On the other hand, good carbs are the ‘complex carbohydrates’. They consist of sugar molecules intertwined together, and they take much more time to digest compared to simple carbohydrates. So, this makes the blood sugar level rise gradually, and insulin production is also slower. Therefore, complex carbohydrates are a source of sustainable energy needed to play Basketball.
Also, complex carbs are plant based or whole food based, so they have a high amount of fibre, vitamins, and minerals with them too. Examples of foods having complex carbs are green veggies, nuts, potatoes, etc.
Fats – In moderation
Ideally, the amount of fat intake for basketball players should be low. Fats are calorie rich compared to carbs or protein, so players who need to gain weight can have more fats. Try eating healthy fats like vegetable oil, olive oil, nuts, etc.