Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ok sports moms… the game is 48 hours away. Have you thought about nutrition and hydration for your boys?

Ok sports moms… the game is 48 hours away. Have you thought about nutrition and hydration for your boys? Last Friday Tyler was cramping up pretty bad… and I am a pretty inexperienced football mom so I started to research what the causes of that could be and how I help him can prevent it… The research is actually pretty scary… there is some evidence that some of the recent deaths of College and Professional players resulted from heat related illnesses and dehydration.

In my research I found that the many boys that cramp up during football games have sweat over 2x as salty as those who do not cramp up in the game… There is a physiological reason why they are getting cramps! The body realizes you are thirsty when you are 2% dehydrated but reduced athletic performance starts when you are just 1% dehydrated… It is important that they keep drinking even if they are not thirsty! If they are thirsty that is a warning sign that they better get a drink because worse things are to come!

The challenge is… how can we overcome that problem? I have come up with a few things to try for starters…

1) Start hydrating at least 2 days in advance – Every day they should be drinking 8 glasses of water… 1-2 hours before practice or a game they should drink an extra 16 oz… 15 minutes before the game they should have another 16 oz…It is also important to continue drinking in the first 15 minutes of exercise because your muscles are working hard to replenish energy at this time. If the boys can weigh themselves before and after a game it would be helpful so they know how much water they have lost. They should drink 16 oz of fluid for every pound of weight lost during a game or practice.
2) My personal preference is to avoid sugary drinks for hydration… when you ingest sugar, it gets burned by your body… that is why people say burn calories… When things burn heat is produced… when heat is produced water is used up… drinking sugary drinks can have the opposite effect than what you intend when trying to get hydrated. I am also going to encourage Tyler to use electrolyte water for hydration – either Smart Water or Trader Joes brand which is a better price.
3) I also bought Tyler coconut water to drink before every game… It is even better for hydration than water… and has important electrolytes and antioxidents… There are many different brands – we are trying the GNC brand for starters.
4) Because my son is a cramper, I bought Gatorlytes Electrolyte Mix (from GNC) for him to drink during the game. It is specially formulated with a lot more sodium (780 mg) and potassium (400 mg) for those kids who are cramp prone. It is sold in packets so they can either add it to Gatoraid or plain water. Electrolytes are very important to the functioning of every cell in your body… you don’t want to mess around with not having enough. If you have too much they will leave your body when you use the toilet :) I am pretty sure Tyler will not like the taste but I think he will drink it if I tell him to… He is good about allowing me to torture him like that!
5) Day before the game eat nutritious high carb choices…Avoid high fat, fried foods, caffeine and alcohol (hopefully that isn't a problem with your teenagers)… make sure they drink plenty of fluids…
6) Gatoraid also makes pregame fuel snacks and after game recovery drinks… While we are trying things, I bought a box of pregame fuel bars and a couple after game recovery drinks…

Now for a quick prayer and it is time to start hydrating my boy!!! I know there are a lot of moms who have walked this path before me… Please let me know if you have found the silver bullet so we can add it to the regimine :)

Thanks for reading!!!


Nicki Noxon said...

Great effort by the JV cougar football team!! And I am so excited that Tyler had no cramps!!! The electrolyte cocktails worked... Although he was not too excited about the taste.... He vetoed gatorlytes in water... But he was ok with it in a large bottle of poweraid coconut water is a lil odd flavor but he drank that too... The after game gatoraid "recover" - gross... He choked half of it down but I am thinking maybe the milkshake type will be ok... I'll keep you posted... I definately recommend gatorlytes and coconut water... The extra potassium and salts worked wonders!

Radhika Ganesh said...


Nutrition and Hydration week 2014