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Do Your Soccer Players Have A
Nutrition Game Plan?

Every player and team in every sport takes the field with a game plan - a strategy to win. The ability to adhere to the game plan often spells the difference between success and failure. Regularly, sports fans hear a coach say, "We came in with a winning game plan and we executed it perfectly."

But what about a nutrition game plan? This could be an area where soccer players miss the ball.

That's why Seattle-area coaches and trainers were invited to Conibear Shell House on the University of Washington campus in late October for the unveiling of the Sports Nutrition Game Plan, developed by the Washington Interscholastic Nutrition Forum (WINForum - www.winforum.org).

The Game Plan is based on the USDA's MyPyramid food guidance system, which calls for the daily intake of fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains and meats or beans (proteins). The Game Plan draws on material from sports nutrition and medical experts, featuring 11 pertinent topics with comprehensive sports nutrition tips.

The Plan is a tangible extension of the core principles that define WINForum's primary purpose: to educate high school athletes, their coaches and athletic trainers about the significance of proper sports nutrition and its proven effect on achieving peak performance.

The 11 topics are:

1. Nutrition Fundamentals

‘Calories' is not a bad word. Calories are simply energy!

2. Eat to Compete

The timing of meals and snacks can maximize performance.

3. Snack Attack

Snacks help maintain lean muscle and help soccer players stay focused. Snacks can be as simple as cheese and baked crackers, or yogurt and fruit.

4. Losing the Fat

Losing weight, or losing "fat" more specifically, can be challenging. Fat loss will help soccer players be healthy and improve their performance on the field.

5. Your Plan for Muscle Mass Gain

Contrary to popular belief it takes more than "eating extra protein" to gain muscle.

6. Weight Training

Proven plans that help athletes gain or lose weight and stay healthy.

7. Sports Nutrition on the Move

Balanced nutrition on the road can be a challenge. There are tips for soccer players on how to get the nutrients they need when traveling to a game or event.

8. The Athlete's Grocery Cart

Having a wide variety of high-carbohydrate and lean-protein foods available can help you meet your athletic goals.

9. Winning with Hydration

Hydrating is a key to athletic success! When an athlete's brain and muscles do not have enough water, they can't operate properly; they lose endurance and strength; and their performance goes down the drain!

10. Iron

Estimates are that up to 25 percent of all teenage girls have an iron deficiency. The problem is even worse in young athletes. And what was once thought to be a problem among females actually affects men as well.

11. When Eating Good Goes Bad

Athletes are at higher risk for developing an eating disorder or having disordered eating. Eating healthy for peak performance takes discipline and diligence.

To download any or all eleven topics of the WINForum Sports Nutrition Game Plan go to www.winforum.org. The WINForum was founded in 2003 to bring accurate and timely sports nutrition information to high school coaches/trainers, athletes and their parents.

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