It seems like nearly every week, or even every day, i’m proposed with the question “Do you think my athlete is eating enough?”
Nearly 100% of the time, the answer is no.
“But <insert athlete name> is ALWAYS snacking and eating something”
While that may be the case, I’ve analyzed hundreds (maybe even thousands now) of athlete food logs, given many suggestions, often times, the same suggestions over and over again.
In fact, it’s quite redundant..
If you are having these struggles, you’re not alone. Here’s a look at what every athletes food log has in common.
- Their Snacks consist of: An orange (if i’m lucky, but it’s ONE single orange, not even TWO..), chips, cookies, etc.
- They often miss breakfast, or eat a bagel, cereal, or any other sugary/high carb breakfasts
- Rarely do they consume any quality proteins throughout the day (minus dinner)
- What are Veggies??? Yeah, most kids don’t know either, hence why they don’t eat them
- Protein Bars, “I had a protein bar for lunch, that’s healthy right?” Well, it may be better than chips, but if you want to be great lets be better.
Sound like your kid?
Many years later, i’m still seeing the SAME food logs and giving the SAME suggestions.
“Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” – Albert Eintstein
Realizing that I was often more unsuccessful then successful, I decided to look into the athletes that I had been successful with previously.
I had given them all the same nutritional guidelines, same advice and same speech, yet only few were successful.
“The most elite athletes we have in our gym are the ones that EAT and SLEEP the best.”
“I told you _____ that you have to eat” – Parent
*smile or chuckle* “I know, I know.” – Athlete
Then….. no changes, except maybe that nights dinner they were a bit more conscious of their choices.
This made me think, what can I do different?
I’m giving the SAME guidelines and the SAME speech explaining the seriousness behind nutrition, yet nearly 80% of our athletes don’t practice good nutritional habits.
I NEED to be better. I NEED to find a way to improve their habits.
Do I make healthy eating a requirement to train at our facility?
Well no, I can’t do that. We’d lose upwards of 80% of our clients and would close down. Then we wouldn’t be able to provide the shore with a high level of training.
Do we punish the kids?
Well no, that’s not my job. My job is to make them better, and overall more athletic. Not to discipline kids.
So what do I do?
I Influence the parents.
So here’s my proposal to all parents. Please be patient and hear me out, in fact, I believe I may make your life much easier..
Most of the time, YOUR athlete wants to play a sport, play for a certain club, travel with a certain team, and or receive specialized training.
They expect YOU to pay for their memberships, travel expenses, equipment and food.
They expect YOU to adjust YOUR schedule around their practices and games
They expect YOU to take them to practice and their games
They expect YOU to give them money when traveling.
They expect a lot, but what are they giving in return?
Some athletes show up and practice hard, play hard and even train hard sometimes.
Which is nice because you feel like you’re receiving your monies worth, right?
You’re enabling the athlete to be more social, opening doors for more experiences and giving them the training that you may wish you had received.
All of that’s great! I believe most parents have great intentions of wanting the best for their athletes and wanting to give great opportunities, but lets take a look at the bigger picture.
If your athlete is NOT eating properly then they are NOT recovering and they they will NOT receive maximal benefits from the games, practices and training that YOU’RE paying for.
So to make it simple, you’re not only wasting your money, but you’re wasting your time (travel) and efforts.
Now I don’t know about you but I don’t like when people don’t value my time, money and efforts.
Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s true.
Where’s the accountability?
There is none.
At your job, can you expect your boss to give you more money, give you food and adjust your work schedule to suit your needs?
Can you expect your boss to give, give and give, all while you put in lack-luster efforts?
So what are we teaching our youth?
Not accountability, work ethic, or hard work.
Proposal for Parents
So here’s my proposal to parents…
Require that your athlete takes OWNERSHIP of what they want.
Require that your athlete GIVES to the PROCESS!
This doesn’t mean they have to pay for their training, club fees, etc., because that’s not really practical.
But rather, lets start simple, lets have them prove that they are willing to receive your monies worth.
“IF YOUR ATHLETE ISN’T EATING PROPERLY THEY ARE NOT RECEIVING THE MAXIMAL BENEFITS OF THEIR TRAINING, AND WASTING YOUR TIME, EFFORTS AND MONEY.”
Require that your athlete learn how to cook quality foods (PS. could be a great way to spend quality time together.)
Teach them the importance of not only quality foods, but the impact of preparation and the effects that it has on success.
Maybe not 100% of their meals. But why not at least half?
1. It takes a burden off of you
2. It teaches your athlete how to prepare quality foods
3. Teaches them about the importance of preparation
4. It’s cheaper in the long run to cook quality foods rather than purchasing quick snacks
Not only will you, and your athlete, notice positive changes on their athletic abilities, but they will learn valuable life skills
Week 1: Athlete learns how to make eggs w/ veggies and potatoes (breakfast)
Week 2: Athlete learns how to make an animal protein, veggies and a variation of rice (lunch)
Week 3: Athlete learns how to prepare their own quality snacks (yogurt w/ fresh cut fruit, granola, home-made protein balls, etc.)
Getting the idea here?
There is so much opportunity for your athlete to grow outside of sports, and while you may feel like you may be the best parent in the world by giving everything to your kids, you may be hindering their abilities to grow as a young adult in the future.
PS. This obviously does not pertain to all parents. In no way, shape, or form, am I telling anyone how to raise their kids, rather, I am suggesting that while intentions are often good, as mentors and parents, we can sometimes be doing more harm than good without even realizing what we’re doing.
Parents, let me know what you think in the comments, I would love to hear from you!