In the last article of this six-part series we addressed diving psychology and anxiety, and without proper nutrition you are more likely to develop such roadblocks in your springboard diving lessons. But good nutrition isn’t just beneficial for the mind; it will help you become a better athlete! What you put into your body is important. After all, you couldn’t put cheap unleaded gasoline into a Ferrari that is about to run in the Grand Prix, would you? Of course not! And when you work with an experienced springboard diving coach she will stress the importance of a well-balanced diet to give you the focus, endurance and strength you need to advance in your springboard diving lessons and win those meets!
When you take springboard diving lessons from the best San Diego diving coach be prepared to answer some questions on your nutrition. Slamming back a Coke or Red Bull and eating a bag of chips won’t make for a healthy mind and body. Junk food can make you sluggish, unfocussed and it can slow down your reflexes. Just look at it this way: if the food you eat has been processed, it will slow you down.
The Best Protein
According to KidsHealth.org athletes under the age of 17 should strive for the same good nutrition that professional athletes are instructed to follow by their team’s dietician and nutrition experts. Child athletes need fats, carbs, vitamins and protein, but need to know what kinds to consume and how much they need. Let’s look at protein. Lean meats like chicken and fish are ideal sources of protein that will help maintain muscle mass. Other sources of protein include eggs, nuts, beans, nuts, seafood and dairy products. A grilled 8 oz skinless chicken breast accompanied with some green vegetables, a salad and some cottage cheese would be an ideal lunch.
Carbohydrates are not Always Bad
You may have heard your aunt talk about how her doctor told her to cut carbs out of her diet. Though carbohydrates are thrown around to be synonymous with weight gain, there are some kinds that are good for you and give you the energy and focus you need to perform well in your springboard diving lessons and competitions. For example, fruit, vegetables and whole grains are wonderful sources of carbohydrates and many have theory own individual benefits too! For example, if you find yourself getting lots of muscle spasms and cramps your springboard diving coach may tell you to eat a banana and drink coconut water every day. Bananas and coconut water are high in potassium and help prevent muscles from cramping up—something that is common in aquatic sports.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you have a calf muscle spasm in the middle of your springboard diving lessons, your coach may tell you that in addition to eating a banana every day, you may also want to eat more asparagus, beets, bamboo shoots, artichokes and especially amaranth leaves—all items containing potassium. In fact for a nice healthy snack you can mix amaranth leaves with kale, spread them out on a cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and sea salt and bake them in the oven to make a healthy snack that resembles chips. Kale is also high in vitamin A which helps with cell growth and boosts your immune system and bone strength. And if you want healthy-looking hair and skin, Vitamin A will be your best friend and therefore you should also eat pecans, pistachios, spinach, peas, butternut squash, carrots, grapefruit, papaya and mangos. Ask your San Diego springboard diving coach to go over all the nutritional basics with you so you can be fueling your body responsibly. You should also go online and find a good nutritional chart to help you in your meal planning.
Stay tuned next week where we will examine the importance of drills in springboard diving lessons, and remember, healthy eating will lead to happy diving and a happy life!