Written by: Frederick Entenmann
In Season Strategy: Maintaining Muscle 101
During my senior year of high school, I went into my basketball season heavily recruited at 6’8” and weighing 220 pounds.
ALL of it hard-earned muscle that I'd built during off-season grueling gym sessions. I was determined to keep all of that beef and play my last game at the same weight I carried into the opening game of the season.
But as the weeks wore on, I steadily lost weight. By the end of the season I had dropped to under 210, and I started to look ‘flat’ and didn't quite have the same power I'd felt at that first tipoff.
Getting enough calories to maintain weight is hard for some athletes
That was when I realized just how hard it is for athletes to get proper nutrition during their season. If you are an athlete, this should be a wake-up call for you, too.
Using my sport as an example, think about it: basketball players cover between three and four miles during each game. That might not be a big deal if they were casually jogging, but they're not.
They're sprinting, jumping, changing direction, and then stopping on a dime to sprint the other way. The effort is intense, causing the body to burn many more calories than it would during a light, evenly paced run.
So even if you're a big eater who dominates buffet lines, you still may not be taking in enough calories to support your activity level.
The same could be said for any sport really as they are ALL taxing on the body. This explains why some athletes eat between 4,000 and 5,000 calories per day in-season.
Now, that's the right idea, but there's a problem: those calories aren't always from the best sources. Take in that many calories from fast food, and you'll feel tired, sluggish, or just "off."
But get those calories from clean lean meats, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and you'll feel sharper and stronger.
Follow these three tips to stay fueled up all season long and maintain the muscle you worked so hard to build.
Tip 1 (before)
Eat before workouts. Eat a combination of fast acting carbohydrates (30-40 grams of oats, fruit, etc…) and lean protein (20-30 grams of lean protein). Eating real food sources before a workout will keep your energy stores high, so your body doesn't have to break down muscle protein for fuel during your workout. Some good options are a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a piece of fruit (apple, orange or banana) and a protein shake, which contains some healthy carbs, fast-acting sugars, and protein. Give it a go.
Tip 2 (during)
Tip 3 (after)
Consumer a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of your workout. I learned about proper ‘mass shakes’ while working as an assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for Florida State University when the football team won the National Championship in 1999.
Make a "mass shake" and drink it once or twice per day (one right after your workout). It will provide you with a large number of quality calories in a quick, easy-to-consume manner. The ingredients may sound heavy, but remember the goal is to increase your calorie intake.
You can always add or experiment with various flavors too. Trust me, this concoction will get you there!
- 1-2 cups almond or coconut milk (OR if you really want to pack it in, grass fed organic whole milk)
- 2 scoops Propello Life Whey Protein
- 3 scoops almond or peanut butter (2 tbsp. of grass-fed butter if allergic to nuts)
- 1 cup oats
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1 banana
- 2 scoops organic coconut or almond ice cream
- Blend and enjoy
- Add some ice
- Use a high-grade blender such as a Vitamix
These suggestions worked for me, but every body is different. Please email email@example.com to ask questions about tips you can implement to achieve your goals.
LIVE FOR IT.