The Essential Ingredients to a Football Player

November 15, 2011
by Justin

To those quietly hating on the men who play the game of football, in college sports.  You might be a fan, alum or even you, the fanatic who paints their bodies until their skin bleeds team colors.   A dirty secret of hatorade you will carry to the grave about your true feelings towards the 250 lb linebacker applauded for his weight gain and yet still able to get any girl he wants.  Mandated meals, three times a day, including snacks in between, for what?  For their performance on the field? “Be careful not to blink or you’ll only catch the special teams, the rest of the squad in and out, resting their bones on the pine being nursed by trainers and water boys,” is what you’re thinking.  Yet these men are admired by every man, women and child glued to the screen, fastened to their seats ready to see another game winning tackle.  Why are these players so revered?  I’ll tell you why.  Because their game begins way before they set foot on the field.  It starts with their diet and nutrition.

Their strength is in what they eat.  So when you see a college athlete with a plate full of tacos and spaghetti, the most random of pairings, understand he’s eating for survival. Peanut butter with baked beans and a side of milk is not to be detested either, but commended.  Who else do you know would place their body in a compromising position?  “Someone who needs to consume twice the amount of protein to help repair damaged tissue and promote growth of new tissue,” cites livestrong.com.

Now to the part you all have been waiting for.  Fat Calories for football players, especially the BIG MEN, needs to be about 20 to 35 percent of their diet.  Fat is a source of energy, and a high-fat diet has been shown to improve performance and increase energy levels.  What separates the BIG MEN from the “big men” is that football players expend so many calories that consuming up to 35 percent of fat is not a concern.  So “big men,” stop using football players as a justification.  Go out and exercise.

Football is a game of strength, speed and stamina and college recruiting is at the pinnacle of these abilities.  In order for a player to possess these qualities, they must eat 50 calories per 2.2 pounds (one kilogram) of body weight, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Therefore, a 240 pound player such as Kiko Alonso, linebacker for the Ducks could need more than 5,500 calories a day.  Does that place things into perspective?

Let’s not forget the ounces of sports drinks and water a player must consume because hydrating is a very important step in diet and nutrition.  Players need to drink enough fluid per hour based on how much they sweat so their bodies don’t overheat.  “Fluid balance is probably the most important nutritional concern for athletes.  Optimal bodily function and peak athletic performance cannot be achieved without proper fluid intake, before, during and after exercise,” cites theacc.com site.  So when you see players being assisted by water boys, it’s not because they have special privileges, it’s so they won’t “cramp up” in the 4th quarter when you depend on them most to make the game winning tackle or touchdown.

So hate all you want because behind closed doors these men are preparing for the biggest game of their lives, becoming the machines that uphold your university name, the jersey you wear out on the streets, now recognizable because of them and the look of awe you receive from a complete stranger when you sport your college name, you can thank them.  These men make it possible for you to show face.

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