Nutrition for Teens
Tell me if this sounds familiar, wake up just in time for school, either no breakfast or some sort of quick carb like a bagel or a poptart, then shoot out the door. 3 hours later eat a school lunch that wouldn’t fill up my 2 year old. Fast forward to after school when practice starts, where up to 2 hours are spent trying to engage in activity on an empty stomach. Not in season? Then you head home and maybe grab a sugar laden drink like a sports drink or maybe some crackers, then you hit the gym in the evening dragging your feet and yawning expecting to lift heavy weights? Not going to happen.
If you want success bad enough, whether in sport or just in life, you have to put in the work. Coming into the gym and getting after it is a small part of the puzzle. It teaches us how to move, teaches us hard work, lets us lift heavy, and it’s fun, but without proper nutrition, you’re throwing away all your hard work. I’m going to tell you what your day should look like, and if you want success badly enough, you’ll make it happen.
It starts in the morning, and don’t say you don’t have time, that’s a poor excuse, and the earlier in life we learn it, the more successful you’ll be. No one has time, you make time. Get up 10 minutes earlier, no snooze button. Toss 2 whole eggs in a pan, grab a bagel with peanut butter, toss some beef jerky, fruit, and 2 sandwiches in your bag, and head to school.
Somewhere in the morning, on the walk between classes, eat a sandwich. (whole wheat bread, meat, mustard, lettuce). Buy your school lunch, but thrown down the extra 75 cents for another portion of whatever they’re calling meat these days, or break out that tupperware of last nights leftovers. If you’re eating a school lunch, eat your other sandwich too.
Mid afternoon, start munching on that beef jerky. After school, eat the fruit. If you’re headed to practice, you’re primed and ready, if you’re headed home, eat it anyway.
If you have a few hours to kill, eat something that looks like dinner. Meat, veggies, potato or rice. Make sure you’re getting some energy in you before training.
After the gym, double up on the meat and veggies for dinner, add a potato. This doesn’t have to be boring, throw some hot sauce on it, or cook the whole meal in pan with a few slices of bacon, that makes everything taste amazing!
Before bed, cottage cheese or greek yogurt, and put the leftovers in a tupperware for tomorrow’s lunch, get your breakfast foods ready, the less you have to do in the morning the better.
Finally, work backwards from the time you have to get up, and make sure you’re turning off the electronics 8 hours before the alarm goes off.
Do this for a week and you’ll be amazed at your energy, the weights you move in the gym, how you’re not tired in class, your body will feel better, your mind will be sharper, and you’ll be happier. Seriously, chemically, things will happen in your body to make you happier.
If you want it bad enough, you’ll do it.
The sad reality is that even though everyone has the capability to follow through on this super easy plan, not everyone will. Which is why not everyone is successful, not everyone is great, and they don’t hand out state championships to everyone who steps onto the field, unless it’s youth sports, they literally all get trophies for nothing.
Don’t accept being mediocre because you want to sleep an extra 5 minutes, or you can’t eat an apple between classes. It’s the small things that will add up and create big successes for you, so start right now by heading to the fridge. Not tomorrow, not next Monday, it’s now or never.
If you want to be above average, you have to do what others will not.