Thursday, September 09, 2010

Calories Needed to Sustain Football Player

A couple days ago, my son told me he was not recovering adequately from practices and games like he was accustomed to in the past.  He was concerned that something was wrong with his metabolism.  he was dragging and not feeling the energy he needed for his grueling schedule of 1 hour weight lifting/wrestling practice and 2 hours football practice each day.

So I did some research online and found out that there is no way he is consuming sufficient calories each day to sustain himself with this kind of schedule.  My son is going to be 16 years old next week, about 6 feet tall and weighs 195 lbs.  He is not a very big eater.  In fact, most days he only eats twice a day and not huge meals at that.  However, I discovered after some research that he should be consuming between 3300 and 4500 calories per day to sustain his body!!  Well, I am SURE he has not been eating that many calories per day.  We eat pretty healthy here, but I just didn't realize how many calories he was burning each day and what his caloric requirements were.

So the very next day I began taking charge of his diet and cooking more food for him to eat.  Amazingly, he had no trouble increasing what he ate and in just one day he felt SO much better!  I make sure he eats a good breakfast, then I prepare him a banana whey protein smoothie before he heads to school for wrestling/weight lifting and football practice in the afternoon.  And when he comes home, I make sure he eats a good dinner, plus a snack later in the evening.  We may even add another snack late morning or early afternoon to get his calorie count up to what it needs to be.

I just figured he would eat what his body needs, but apparently he is just not a big eater unless I make it happen.  So I got a wake-up call about my son's diet and will make sure he gets what his body needs.

If you have a child in sports/athletics, you may want to read this great article called Fueling for Football by Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, LDN, is Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and serves as a consultant to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pitt athletics, and several area high schools.  She discusses the importance of carbohydrates, fluid intake, pre-game meals, post-game snacks and weight issues.   I was very impressed with the information shared and will follow her suggestions in order to keep my son in top performance mode during the football season.

And just a side note:  even though they did not win their game last night, my son played REALLY awesomely!!  Even the coaches said so - not just Mom:-)

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