Good sports nutrition is essential for any sportsmen. Cultivating a well-balanced eating habit and exercise regime in kids is important, as it will aid in building a great foundation for healthy and strong athletes in future.
Fandi believes that parents have to be a good role model to their kids in moulding their nutritional habits especially those who are actively involved in sports training.
“When I was younger, I seldom had a problem with eating my vegetables but it is not the case with many kids nowadays. It is the duty of the parents to ensure that their kids have their fruits and vegetables even though the kids refuse to eat them. Food and nutrition is essential in building a great sportsman.”
Apart from the fruits and vegetables, Fandi touches on another two important factors in nutrition – Water and Carbohydrates.
Water plays a huge role in keeping people hydrated and it is very important to maintain proper hydration; more so in athletes as they tend to lose most of their bodily fluids through perspiration while exercising.
It is widely accepted that water is the most vital nutrient for life and it has many important functions, which includes regulating body temperature, producing energy, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients throughout the body.
As an experienced football coach, Fandi feels that children tend to take the issue of hydrating themselves lightly and it is necessary to educate them about the importance of water and its benefits.
“I cannot stress the fact that water is the most important nutrient for active people because when you perspire you lose water, which must be replaced. To prevent yourself from dehydrating, it is necessary to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a strenuous training.”
“Most kids fail to understand the importance of hydrating themselves and I’ve seen this during football trainings. As children, they are too excited and involved in a football game or training, and they do not realize they need to take water breaks. This is where it’s the coach’s duty to ensure that their trainees are well replenished.”
Carbohydrates are consumed in many forms and provide the body with a source of fuel and energy that is required to carry out daily activities and exercises. Fandi emphasizes that the active kids in particular need to get more calories, as they tend to burn off more energy. The intake of carbohydrates is necessary but the body of a young athlete is not efficient in storing carbohydrates.
“Carbohydrates are key in an athlete’s balanced diet, along with fat and protein. Those involved in sports lose more energy than those who are less active. The best way to get the required calories is in the form of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates provide many important B vitamins that are needed to help put the energy in good use.”
“Before exercise, sportsman should consume food that have a low GI (glycemic index) because they take a long time to break down. Food like, carrots, oranges, pears, dried apricots, banana and whole milk are low in GI which will help to maintain your energy level for a long time.”
“As the kids would have lost a lot of energy after training, it is important to replenish it immediately and this is where food that have a high GI is necessary. It helps you to stock up on the energy lost as that type of food will digest very fast and students will feel energized very quickly. Examples of such food will be cereals, waffles, raisins, honey and bagels. This will aid in replenishing the muscles with fuel.”