Written by Helen Freeman
The preseason and regular season for basketball players is very long, particularly when compared to other sportsmen. That means that the fitness and nutrition regimes of basketball players is both very unique and very important to sustain. The average pro basketball player can run between 2 AND 2.5 miles in every game, meaning that the need for a stamina and endurance boosting diet is integral to excelling performance and success. So what exactly are pro basketball players eating?
The Power of Protein
Top NBA athletes have muscular builds with very low percentages of body fat: in order to achieve this, a strict diet should be followed. NBA players tend to eat protein at every meal. This is because protein is a ‘super food’ that helps to build muscle whist also increasing your metabolism, meaning that you can continually burn fat whilst and after you have eaten your meal. The goal is to aim for 20 grams of protein, as a minimum, in every meal. Real protein sources, such as chicken, fish, greek yoghurt and plenty of mixed nuts) are much more preferable to artificial protein sources such as protein shakes, although many NBA players and professional athletes choose to supplement their diet with these as well as with traditional, real protein sources. High levels of protein and healthy fats are the two things that these athletes should and do eat every day, however the amounts of carbohydrates they eat on a daily basis will vary dramatically depending on whether it was a game day, a rest day, or how much training they had undertaken on any given occasion.
Variable Carbohydrate Consumption
The best athletes carefully tailor the amount of carbohydrates they consume on a daily basis, only intaking the right blend of carbohydrates to give them the strength and endurance energy they need for their daily activity. During intense training periods, carbohydrates may well make up the vast majority of your daily calorie intake, and a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins should be achieved, however the kind of carbohydrates you choose are equally as important as the amount that you are consuming. High quality carbohydrates include unrefined rice and pasta, whole grain breads and cereals (rather than processed white ones) and plenty of starchy vegetables. Whilst there is high carbohydrate content in foods such as sweets, pastries, cookies and cakes, your intake of these foods should be massively restricted due to the high amount of refined white sugars these contain. Not only are these white sugars quickly converted to unwanted fat, they can also give you head aches and leave you feeling tired and sluggish: not what you want before a big NBA game!
The Importance of Boosting and Promoting Good Health
Obviously it is important to avoid any drugs or synthetic substances as a basketball player: illegal drugs and performance enhancing drugs will see you removed from the game, your career in tatters, but other medications should also be avoided or taken with caution .Of course should the need for medical attention or medical intervention arise, NBA players are just as entitled to visit their doctor and use the medication they recommend as anyone else. But this does mean that pro players are very health conscious and try to eat foods that will promote good health in an attempt to prevent them from having to use medications (either prescribed or over the counter) unless it is truly necessary. Plenty of antioxidant-rich leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, are a great option for providing a natural health boost.
The diet and nutrition routine of an NBA star are just as important a key to their success as their training routine. Eating the right things can help to prepare your body, as well as your mind, and target and prepare you to achieve real athletic success.
“The five nutrition habits of explosive basketball players”, Stack, http://www.stack.com/2013/06/24/basketball-nutrition-habits/
“NBA Fit: How do you measure up?”, NBA Fit, http://fit.nba.com/archives/829
“Fueling basketball players”, Academy of Nutrition and Dietics, https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/vault/2440/web/files/SNCM/Client%20Education%202014/Basketball%20Players-4-2014.pdf
“Substance abuse help and support: New York”, Mental Help, http://https//www.mentalhelp.net/care/substance-abuse/ny/
“Medical advise about drugs and sport”, Patient, http://patient.info/doctor/drugs-and-sport
“Why are NBA Stars jumping on the paleo diet bandwagon?”, Hoops Hype, http://hoopshype.com/2014/08/18/why-are-nba-stars-jumping-on-the-paleo-diet-bandwagon/