What Former Athletes Should Know About Nutrition
The transition from college athletics to the real world is a hard one, with many changes in almost every aspect of your life. Nutrition being one of them. Understanding nutrition and your new nutritional needs, is one of the most important changes.
How you deal with this change can drastically alter your body’s appearance, your post college experience, and your relationship with food.
What is your body goal?
The interesting thing is every athlete has a different goal. Some athletes want to lose fat, others want to keep the same body composition. Some athletes want their arms to appear smaller, while others want to gain muscle. The point is every athlete has a different idea about how they want their bodies to look now that they are no longer competing…. We can thank society for making us hyper aware of how we NEED to look.
But the fact is, it’s our reality and every woman does deal with that pressure to some extent. It’s our job as Mpowher Athletes, to help give the best resources so we can accomplish our body goals and have a healthy relationship with ourselves and food.
55% of Mpowher Athletes say that they gained body fat after they stopped competing.
After we stop competing, our calorie needs change, as we try to effectively fuel our bodies. For the first time in our lives, we have to actually monitor what we are consuming…. Which is new for all of us. THIS IS NORMAL.
Use this 3 step guide, to gain a better understanding of your nutritional needs and take the guesswork out of how to fuel your body.
Step 1: Define your body goal
Every athlete needs to define their nutritional and body goals. This may be new territory for you, as it is for many athletes. But the athletes that define their goals give themselves the foundation to succeed and are more successful with how they want their bodies to look.
Step 2: Calculate your daily calorie needs
During this phase it is crucial to understand your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is the amount of calories you will burn each day living your current lifestyle. By using a calorie calculator, you can now recognize how many calories you need and have the correct knowledge to accomplish your body goals.
Here is a good calorie and macro calculator if you need one.
Step 3: Use a calorie counter + macro counter for 2-4 weeks
This step is the one most athletes skip. Athlete’s either think they know or do it for a week and stop. Unless you have a degree in nutrition, DO THIS STEP!
You are educating yourself about your new nutritional needs. After you count your calories for a month… we know it’s not fun… but after this step you will have better educated yourself. You will be aware that there are 325 calories in that avocado you just ate. That there were 1,790 calories in that Chipotle burrito with chips and salsa you ate last night or why you always feel more full after you eat foods high in fiber or fat.
Will understanding Macros help me?
Depending on your body goal, you probably will need to understand what a macro is and how to count them. This is important for the athlete that has a goal that is more complex than just losing weight. And even for athletes that want to lose weight, understanding your macros can help take the guessing out of it and insure that you are consuming the appropriate amount of carbs, protein and fats. Learn how to calculate and count your macros.
These 3 steps are educational and for the first month just monitoring your food intake and playing around with what works. You can play around with what you eat, but you do not need to start changing your food intake yet. Just get an understanding for what is going in your body and how it is affecting you.
Most of us athletes overestimate our knowledge about food and nutrition.
Many of us have a very bad relationship with food, without even knowing it. Many times we just classify various foods as good food and bad food without knowing what is in them. Many times we overeat and binge and other times we undereat to make our bodies look a certain way. Do you have a bad relationship with food?
As soon as we can admit to ourselves that our new “non competing” bodies are going to change, then we can start moving forward. During this phase it is crucial to educate and learn as much as we can about our bodies. Teaching yourself and becoming more knowledgeable will help make this transition easier. This is a process and will take time. Many athletes underestimate the length of this journey. This will take years to master, so take these 2-4 weeks and learn about your nutritional needs.
After you monitor yourself for this first month and get an understanding for your nutritional needs… the next step is to implement your goal and pick the best play for success.
Athletes thrive with structure, but now we have to create it for ourselves. We no longer have our coaches and teachers giving us the schedule and perfect recipe for success, we now have to educate ourselves and create the structure we want to see in our lives. This is an exciting time basque in it!
Learn more with this full guide on how athletes deal with the lack of structure after they stop competing.
No one workout or diet plan works. Honestly, they all have the ability to work, please be wary of the one magical diet plan. Each athlete is unique and has to take the time to figure out their amazing body.