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Meal frequency for high school athletes

Believe it or not most high school athletes grossly under-eat calories and overall protein intake. On top of that most athletes with their high school schedule go long periods of time without eating. Long periods of fasting like intermittent fasting is not and never will be an effective approach for improving performance, especially with a high school athlete. These long periods of not eating go hand and hand with a decrease in strength, and increase risk of injury (especially if water is down too). Not to mention most of the time these athletes are going right into activities after school on an empty stomach. Even if you “don’t feel hungry” This does not mean there is no negative effect on your performance.

A general rule of thumb that I tell athletes is to have 3 meals by 3pm and 5 meals by 9pm. When I say meals, I don’t mean that these need to be full blow large meals but they do have to have a good source of protein in each one. In conjunction with this every athlete should be making sure they are getting at least their body weight X 0.7 in ounces of water per day. An Example of this would be (150lbs athleteX0.7= 105 ounces of water per day.) I tell most athletes between 150lbs-200lbs to keep it simple, shoot for a gallon every day.

This may seem like an impossible task with a high school schedule, especially since most classes during the school day won’t let you eat during class. But remember if you fail to plan you plan to fail and if you don’t take the time out each day to know exactly what you will be eating you’re not taking your athletic performance seriously. Prepare you food before hand.

If you still have a hard time picturing this here’s an example of a meal plan structure I have some of our athletes follow who need to put on muscle mass and increase strength. This may sound like a lot of food but every athlete who can follow through with this structure consistently have put on a significant amount of muscle and have noted that they have more energy throughout that day, and sleep better.

Breakfast(6AM-6:30AM)- 4 eggs, 2 pieces of toast with a sausage or 2 strips of bacon. If you want to gain weight add a big glass on whole milk with this.

Snack (before lunch)- RX bar or epic bar

Lunch- 1 PB and J sandwich (2 if you want to gain weight), a banana or 4 strawberries, Siggies yogurt.

After school- if you’re not working out after school have a protein shake. If you are have some fruit like a banana or apple.

After workout- Protein shake- almond milk, 1 scoop of optimum nutrition whey protein, 1 banana, 4 strawberries, and 1 big scoop of peanut butter.

Dinner- piece of meat about the size of two fists, cup of green veggies, cup of jasmine rice. (add a big glass of whole milk if you’re trying to gain weight)

If you do this right you shouldn’t be going longer than 3 hours without some sort of food throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism roaring, you’ll be a muscle building machine and your ability to recover from workouts and practices will go through the roof. You’ll feel like it’s a lot of food at first but your body will get used to it and it will feel normal again for you. What also happens with this increase in calories and meal frequency is that body composition improves as well on top of all this.

I’ll also note that this is for a high school male athlete around the weight of 150lbs-175lbs. If you’re much smaller than this you can decrease the total amount you’re eating by 10%-20% with each meal but keep the frequency the same.

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