Whether you’re a pro athlete or a weekend warrior, nutrition plays a key role for athletic performance in any sport.
Basketball players in particular must build strong muscle while maintaining a low body fat percentage that allows them to be explosive and powerful on the court.
We asked Perth Wildcats Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Will Markwick for his top 5 food tips for basketball and how the Perth Wildcat’s ensure optimal performance gains and recovery for their players.
The following 5 foods form the backbone of the nutritional program at the Perth Wildcats.
1. Meat, eggs and soy.
Foods that are high in protein are essential for basketball players and athletes, amateur or professional, young or old.
Protein can assist with:
Building blocks for enzymes
Immune function, and
Act as transporters to your muscles.
Meals recommended to Perth Wildcats players will always have a major protein source for example, beef, chicken, fish, kangaroo, pork and eggs and on occasion soy foods (great for lactose intolerance).
Nuts are a fantastic snack for athletes and provide a great alternative to high sugar, high fat snacks that are too often consumed.
Will says, “At our training facility we will often provide almonds and cashews for the players, as they are high in (good) FAT… Who would of thought that fat is actually good for you!”
Specifically almonds are high in monounsaturated fat and have an array of vitamins and minerals that are unbelievable for your body. Adding almonds to your diet has also been linked to reducing cholesterol levels and likelihood of heart disease. So next time you reach for that chocolate bar grab a handful of nuts instead!
If you are an athlete or would like to be an athlete you must have some form of vegetables/salad in every meal. And here is the deal….EAT AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE!! Try these handy tips to help you enjoy your vegetables.
a. Experiment – try new recipes, ask a teammate how they prepare their vegies, try new varieties you have never heard of.
b. Disguise them – Instead of having a big boring plate of vegies, incorporate on a wrap/sandwich, put in to a stir-fry and pasta dish.
c. Marinade/Dressings – in moderation and applied sparingly a nice balsamic glaze or a soy/garlic marinade can make your vegies/salad enjoyable.
4. Whey Protein (WPI)
A basketballer’s best friend….
Whey protein is the most important nutritional supplement for basketball athletes. The high intensity and intermittent nature of basketball means players can experience high levels of muscular fatigue and damage. Whey is a milk derived protein, and has been thoroughly researched to enhance muscular protein synthesis. What this means for Perth Wildcats basketballers is that they are able to improve their capability to recover from training session to training session, ultimately impacting their ability to perform.
WPI is a ‘fast release’ protein that contains 90%+ protein and very little fat and lactose, making it the ideal protein to be consumed post-workout. Perth Wildcats players are directed to consume 40g of Vitalstrength WPI+ post strength and power training and also post intense team practice sessions. Perth Wildcats strongly believe that Vitalstrength WPI+ gives basketballlers every opportunity to train and play to their potential.
Last but not least is oats, which are a fantastic meal to start the day. Oats are a low-GI food, high in good carbohydrates, protein and fibre that supply a sustained release of energy to allow basketball players to complete their training commitments.
The great thing about oats is that they are so versatile. A favourite for Perth Wildcats players is to add a scoop of Vitalstrength WPI+ Chocolate to make a healthy chocolate flavoured cereal.
Hopefully this article has given you an insight in to some of the foods basketball players and athletes in any sport should be consuming for optimum performance results. Will Markwick from Perth Wildcats leaves you with this small bit of advice, “to get the best out of your diet you MUST ENJOY IT!…”