Increasing the overall performance and endurance of athletes through is the primary aim of much of the research done on training and becoming more competitive in sports. The choosing of athlete’s food choices, essential carbohydrates needed for athletes, and the effects of consuming carbohydrates before and during competition is very important in helping with the enhancing of an athlete’s endurance and his or her exercise performance. It is critical for athletes to ingest a significant amount of carbohydrates in their bodies in order to compete at high performance levels. Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for our body, but as athletes we must know the difference between good and bad carbohydrates. Good carbohydrates are foods that do not look processed and how it looks in nature is how is it should look before being eaten. Examples of good carbohydrates are corn on the cob, whole fruits, whole grains, etc. Bad carbohydrates are highly refined sugars and carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, white pasta, soft drinks, etc. Though carbohydrates could be seen as good or bad, neither are perfect, and both can be included in your diet but at a rate where good carbohydrates greatly exceed bad carbohydrates.
Athletes usually try to choose foods with high levels of proteins and carbohydrates. Although an athlete’s nutritional choices are influenced by the athletes’ social environment such as physical and social settings, quality, quantity, convenience, and the perceived healthiness of the foods (Long, Perry, Unruh, Lewis & Stanek-Krogstrand, 2011). A qualitative study conducted by (Long et al., 2011) attempted to create a theoretical model explaining the personal food choice processes of collegiate football players. Fifteen collegiate players were chosen consisting of 2 kickers (1 punter, 1 place kicker), 4 quarterbacks, 3 defensive backs, 2 wide receivers, and 4 lineman. Of the 15 players 4 were sophomores, 9 were juniors, and 2 were seniors. The ethnicity of the 15 players were 10 whites, 3 were Hispanic, and 2 African Americans. The key points of this study was the amount of time the football players had towards their food choices due to balancing their academic and athletic responsibilities, how much the collegiate football players focused on eating nutritious low fat foods and being able to identify the importance of eating foods with high protein and high carbohydrates and hydrating as much as necessary to meet their nutritional needs, and how constant interactions with athletic trainers and athletes helps the athletic trainers assist players with making good food choices. Football players were personally interviewed either one on one or in focus groups where data collection was conducted in a quiet room. After the interviews were conducted with each player and the data was collected, the player’s words were used to label and explain their experiences and interactions with the food process. The results in study done by (Long et. Al., 2011) showed that football players tended to choose foods that gave fuel source for their next athletic endeavor. Understanding the need to adequately hydrated or past experience is how they choose their hydration plans. High protein foods were chosen by players believing that protein is what allowed their body to remain healthy. Carbohydrate choices such as fruits, vegetables, rice and pasta were chosen on the athletes’ understanding of essential fuel sources for their working muscles. In conclusion, the amount of time the players had played a key factor into their food choices. Not only was the time of day important to players but also the amount of money they had at the time to spend on food. Due time, players tended to buy quick-fix meals such as one-skillet, microwaveable dinners, sandwiches, protein bars, and carbohydrate filled sports drinks. The health care professionals such as the athletic trainer should understand that athletes have personal rules and routines which...
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