Nutrition for Snowboarding, Part 1
Author: Certified HyperStrike Trainers
The first snowboarders could be spotted on the slopes of France during the 1920’s, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s in America that the sport really took off.
Since the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, snowboarding has been established as a serious sport for serious athletes.
The cool and not-so-cool part of snowboarding is the instant feedback after a stunt. If you ace it, you can bask in the glow. If you bite it, you can hope the crowd goes easy on you. But could you go easy on yourself if failure came down to something as simple as fatigue caused by a lack of good nutrition?
Nutrition and Snowboarding
If you’re reading this, there is about a 75 percent chance you are between the ages of 13 and 24. If you think youth insulates you from having to eat healthy – guess again.
Although a ride for a competition is rather short compared to other sports, you have to fuel your hours of training that demand repeated bursts of explosive power in order to turn, twist, jump, or flip.
A snowboarder must be rested, focused and ready to perform at each run of a competition. Virtually every muscle is involved and must be coordinated. The nervous system must be sharp to maintain balance while performing these gymnastic-like maneuvers.
Because of the threat of injury, it is advised that snowboarders participate in a strength and conditioning program. Nutrition plays a crucial role in not only helping the athlete achieve optimal training results, but also recovering quickly.
Hyperstrike applies knowledge of the metabolic demands of the job to develop nutritional strategies. The following are some general guidelines.
- Eat nutrient dense foods. Keep junk food and processed food at a minimum. These contain calories that the body does not use optimally because of their low vitamin and mineral content. Fresh is best.
- Eat approximately every three to four hours to maintain insulin levels and aid in physical and neural recovery.
- Eat complex carbohydrates (starches) at a ratio of five to seven g/kg bodyweight (2.5-3.5 g/lb bodyweight) (1). For example, a 70 kg (154 lb) male needs 350 to 420 grams of carbohydrates per day. Starchy foods such as pasta, wheat bread, whole grain cereals, brown rice, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and vegetables provide a major energy source to fuel your activities. These foods are also a source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – the health protective substances in plant foods.
- Choose protein sources at a ratio of 1.2–1.6 g/kg bodyweight (0.54-0.86 g/lb bodyweight) from turkey, chicken, eggs, fish (although cold water fish have higher fat content, these are much needed healthy fats), lean cuts of beef, tofu, low fat cottage cheese (1).
- Choose healthy fat sources from nuts, avocadoes and cold-water fish. Eat 40 to 100 grams of fat per day. If you do not get enough of these, take an essential fatty acid supplement or fish oil supplement (one to two tablespoons each day).
- Keep drinking water or sport drinks to maintain hydration while training. Try to avoid water-like substances such as Kool-Aid, sodas, juice or lemonade. Although these may contain water and some carbohydrates, they also contain a greater amount of the wrong type of carbohydrate source (sucrose and/or fructose), which can ultimately lead to gastrointestinal (GI) distress (i.e. diarrhea) and decreased performance.
- Eat a diet that consists of a wide variety of foods by keeping in mind the basic food groups. It is the best insurance for getting needed nutrients.
- Consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day among the foods that you eat. High fiber foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and cereals. Read labels and be aware of fiber content in everything you eat.
- Avoid high-fructose corn syrup and excessive table sugar, even when trying to gain weight. These include candy, juices, desserts, baked goods, etc.
- Use meal replacement shakes, fruit smoothies or bars whenever necessary. Always keep bars available such as in a book bag, purse, glove compartment, locker, or wherever poor nutrition might be the alternative such as at a competition. Try an assortment of brands to see which you like.
- Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement from a reputable brand.
- Before going to bed, eat a light snack such as peanut butter on whole-wheat bread and a glass of skim milk.
- Only certain supplements may be beneficial for snowboarders.
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