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5 Tips to Having Good Nutritional Habits

Knowing what to eat and when to eat is hard. Everyone has different opinions on what works for them. For high school athletes, eating smart and bulking up can be a real challenge. We at Coluzzi Kicking are almost finished with a customized nutritional program of our own. With that in mind, here are five tips to improve your eating habits and make your body stronger.

1. Eat Before and After Working out

You perform better when you have a stomach full of food. This is contrary to the “wait 30 minutes to swim after eating” myth. Not eating results in you feeling physically and mentally drained or sluggish. Ron Coluzzi, head coach at Coluzzi Kicking and former Iowa punter, notices a difference between the athletes who eat before working out and the ones that don’t. “The kids I train tend to perform better when they are full than when they are hungry,” he said. Being hungry can result in a loss of focus and concentration on the field. On the flip side, you cannot overstuff yourself before working out. Overeating can make you slow and sluggish. After you kick or lift, you should try to eat within 30 minutes so your muscles recover properly.

2. Stay Away From Fast Food

There is a reason why fast food is cheap and quick. These brands choose quantity over quality. The high amounts of fat, salt and sugar in fast food can lead to an unhealthy diet if consumed regularly. Instead, choose healthier, lower-calorie options that provide the proper nutrients for an athletic diet. One way to avoid fast food is to prepare your own food. Go to a grocery store and buy fresh ingredients to make tasty and healthy food.

3. Eat Breakfast

Everyone has heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I can confirm that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you should never skip it. Going too long without food after you wake up decreases your energy, which will in turn hurt your performance. According to Rush University Medical Center, studies have shown that eating breakfast correlates to having a lower BMI, consuming less fat, reaching the recommendations for fruits and veggies, having higher daily calcium and fiber intake and having better memory and attention. Eating breakfast has long-term and short-term benefits that can affect your day in a positive way.

4. Use Protein and Appropriate Supplements

When people think of protein powder, they often think of muscle heads. But, anyone can use protein powder to gain muscle. According to Men’s Fitness, consuming whey protein can make you lose weight and gain muscle. Even though his playing days are over, Ron Coluzzi stills uses protein to maintain his body. “I have a protein shake every day for breakfast and after I lift,” said Coluzzi, “It helps me properly recovery and maintain energy throughout my day.” In addition, other supplements including vitamins, omega-3 oils and amino acids that can make up for a deficiency of any nutrient. If you do choose to start taking supplements or protein, we recommend that you go see Adam Jacobs at GNC. He is the GNC General Manager at the 120 Danada Square West location in Wheaton, Illinois. If you ask for Adam and say Coluzzi Kicking sent you, you’ll get a discount.

5. Avoid Unhealthy Supplements

As a high school athlete, your body is still growing and maturing. It’s very important that you don’t stop your growth spurts by taking certain products like creatine or deer antler spray. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is concern that high doses of creatine could be unsafe and possibly cause damage to the liver, kidneys or heart. Side effects of creatine include muscle cramping, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, gastrointestinal pain, dehydration, weight gain, water retention, heat intolerance and fever. Still, creatine is not considered a performing-enhancing drugs (PED) and is not banned in the Olympics, in professional sports and by the NCAA. Deer antler spray, which gained notoriety after reports linked Ray Lewis to the product, is a substance that is similar to Human Growth Hormone (HGH). According to Business Insider, the spray “builds muscle and makes you bigger, stronger, and faster, according to the companies that make it. It contains IGF-1, which is a natural growth factor that's really similar to HGH.” IGF-1 is an ingredient that is tested and banned by the NFL, just like HGH. Also, some scientists have doubted the effectiveness of misting deer antler spray under the tongue. My advice is avoid deer antler spray and creatine in favor of safer and more effective supplements.

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