You wouldn’t take a first-time runner and sign them up for a marathon. You would never put 300 pounds on the bench press for a kid who has never lifted before. Progression is the key to building success.
Basketball nutrition is the same. We must have a system to progress the way we eat.
The 3 Levels Of Nutrition shows athletes what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat so they can be their best on and off the court.
Just like gasoline is fuel for your car, what you eat is fuel for your body. You’d never drive across the country without filling up your gas tank first.
Yet, many athletes will show up to practice on an empty stomach.
The most important basketball nutrition habit you can do is to make sure you eat enough. That’s why FUEL is the first level of nutrition.
If you don’t have enough fuel in your body, you’ll run out of energy and won’t have the building blocks to create new muscle.
Here’s an article I wrote about getting the right fuel in before games:
Click here to read about Pre-Game Meals
Building a meal is just like building a fire. You need to have multiple fuel sources if you want your energy to last.
The first material you’d need when building a fire is paper. It lights up quick and gives you instant energy. This is what carbohydrates do.
Carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.) are like pieces of paper. They light up quick and give you a burst of energy, but it doesn’t last long.
That’s why you need multiple sources of energy.
Protein (chicken, fish, eggs, etc.) are like sticks that give structure to the fire. They provide a medium energy source and also create every structure in our body.
Every muscle, tendon and bone is created from the protein we eat.
Fat (peanut butter, avocados, cashews, etc.) is like the big log on the fire. It doesn’t light up quickly, but provides long-lasting energy.
Once you’ve passed Level 1 and are eating enough fuel, you should make sure that your meals consist of a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
If you’re eating enough (FUEL) and also eating the right mix of nutrients (FIRE), you’ve earned the right to work on LEVEL 3: WHOLE FOOD.
A whole food is any food where the name of the food is the ingredient of the food.
The ingredient of an apple is an apple. The ingredient of chicken is chicken.
Whole foods contain all the right nutrients, in the right ratios, that get delivered to your body at the right time.
If you’re already getting enough calories in and have protein, carbohydrates and fats at each meal, the next step to improving nutrition is to replace processed foods with whole foods.
Here’s an article I wrote about adding whole foods into your diet:
Click here to read about my Top 7 Basketball Foods