Power Diet for Volleyball Season

August 29, 2011
by Justin

Your dedication to training for volleyball season can only go so far if you don’t have the proper diet to endure rigorous practice and your strenuous games. While you already know you have to stay off performance-enhancing drugs like steroids and human growth hormones, you still have other things to know regarding your diet.

A high protein diet is said to be the best in-season diet since proteins aid in muscle building. But for you to get the best power diet during volleyball season, the largest chunk of your daily food intake should consist of carbohydrates.

When you engage in any physical activity, your body burns carbohydrates before any other nutrient. Because it’s the largest source of energy for your body, without a sufficient supply your performance will suffer. The ideal carbohydrate intake for you is 8-10 grams of carbohydrates for every kilogram you weigh (3.5-4.5g for every lb). So if you weigh about 130 lbs, you must eat between 455 and 585 grams of carbohydrates.

You can get your dose of carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads and pasta, so getting enough of it won’t be a problem. Eat an easily digestible, carb-loaded meal about four hours before a match. Sports drinks with electrolytes like Gatorade have about 5-7% carbohydrate content so drink up at about two hours before training for volleyball or playing in a match. Be sure to drink more of it during breaks to replenish your lost electrolytes and carbohydrates but also your fluids.

You’re not a bodybuilder so go easy on steaks and chicken breasts. You should be on a high protein diet but not too high since you don’t need to bulk up so much. Proteins should only take up 10-25% of your calories and it would be enough to repair your muscles. Because proteins are primarily for muscle repair and recovery, grab a meal with lean meat or fish less than an hour after a game. Drink some skim chocolate milk and you’ll get enough proteins to recover. For your protein needs, pick lean meat or fish, low-fat dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt) and eggs.

After burning your supply of carbohydrates, your body burns your fats next. Make sure you have healthy or unsaturated fats in your diet. A low-sodium nut mix does not only have unsaturated fats but also other minerals like fiber, iron and antioxidants. Another good source of fat is avocados, which also have Vitamins C and K. Also, stay away from very oily, fatty foods.

Don’t forget to drink lots of water. During practice alone, you lose about 16 oz of water, so you should always have a bottle of water and/or sports drink in handy to replenish your fluids. Drink at least two glasses of water before playing and grab a drink every 15 minutes of practice. If your body doesn’t have enough supply of water, you’re in danger of muscle cramps, heat stroke and dehydration. So always remember to keep yourself hydrated.

During volleyball season, keep your body in top form with a high carbohydrate, high protein diet. Eat healthy fats but keep them to a minimum. Most of all drink lots of water. Remember playing at your highest level will increase your chances of being recruited and one way you can sustain peak performance starts with your in season diet.

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