I have learned so much about nutrition and recovery these last 8 months or so. And a lot of it has come from professional athletes and how they are utilizing both strategies.
Especially, the athletes that are getting older and have only a few years potentially left in their careers. They have learned that if they want to get the most mileage out of their body they have to take care of it accordingly.
Maybe you have heard of some of these athletes who have taken control of their bodies as they get older – Lebron James, Tom Brady, Roger Federer. Now add Cristiano Ronaldo to the list.
In a recent article that is making the rounds from The Sun Football, Ronaldo’s diet was explained and his sleeping habits. Here is a little of what Ronaldo eats throughout the day:
- Breakfast – Cheese and ham with low-fat yogurt
- Lunch #1 – Chicken and salad
- Lunch #2 – Tuna, olives, egg and tomato
- Snacks – Fresh fruit and avocado toast
- Dinner #1 – Swordfish and salad
- Dinner #2 – Steak and calamari
Now he certainly has the means to acquire all these foods and get them prepped for him. Your typical athlete I work with who is balancing school, tests, and practice, might have to work in some supplemental products for assistance. Even though looking at his Instagram account, he also has some supplements he adds into the mix.
The other part of his program I mentioned is the recovery. For him, sleep is huge. Not only does he get 8 hours of sleep a day, but supposedly he gets 5 90-minute naps as well.
If you do the math, that means he is awake for about 8.5 hours a day. Maybe not entirely accurate, but I do believe he takes naps to help his body recover and repair. The best way you do that is when you sleep.
Okay Adam, nice point, but so what??
I will reiterate. Why wait until you are on the last legs of your career to start doing some of these things. If most athletes get to play at the high school level, very few of them move on to the college level.
The point is you shouldn’t wait!
Do it now. Don’t succumb to the mind numbness of electronic devices all the time. Stop the electronic use about an hour before you go to bed. Cristiano does it an hour and a half. Get some good quality sleep. Most of the young athletes I work with need to get closer to 9 hours of sleep to be optimalized.
Finally, you don’t have to be perfect with your nutrition, but you need to have a clue what good nutrition is. Just a clue.
The athletes I’ve been working with and monitoring their caloric expenditure, I’ve noticed they burn more calories than they think they do. Unfortunately, they aren’t meeting that caloric intake appropriately. They are eating less than what they are burning.
Don’t worry about gaining or losing weight, just try to meet the caloric demands of your body. You do that and your body will work more efficiently for energy and recovery.
Combine the two and you have a winning ticket. That combination will help your training be that much more effective and get you to your athletic goals a heck of a lot quicker.