Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nutritional Advice from Dr. Jon Sams

The following is a contribution from Dr. Jon Sams. Dr. Sams specializes in treating elite athletes and has helped rehabilitate some of the best female basketball players in the city. Dr Sams will provide periodical advise on She'sBallin. Dr. Sams can be reached at:

Texas Physical Therapists Specialists
184 Creekside Park, Suite 200
Spring Branch, TX 78070
phone- 830-980-4565


The combination of endurance, speed, power, agility, sport specific skill and mental focus make the game of basketball a highly intense sport. By incorporating sound performance nutrition principles to these components of the game players can maximize their training and competitive abilities. As a basketball player, one of our most fierce opponents is fatigue. Therefore, one of the goals of performance nutrition is to reduce both physical and mental fatigue. Delaying fatigue not only gives us an advantage over our competitors but it also helps to prevent injury. Many injuries occur in the last few minutes of the games when players are physically drained and mentally tired. So, maintaining high energy levels throughout game and practice give a player a distinct competitive edge.

Pre-Practice/Game Meals

- Should be consumed 2-4 hours before practice/game and should contain lean protein.
- Players should fill 2/3 of plate with carbohydrates and 1/3 with lean protein choices.
- High fat meals should be avoided during this time period.
- 16 oz of water/sports drink should be consumed 2 hours before practice/game.
- 4-8 oz should be consumed 30 min prior to practice/game to top off.
- Sports drinks should be chosen over water in the cramp prone athlete.

Game Time Nutrition

- 4-8 oz of water/sports drink should be consumed every 15-20 minutes.
- Each “gulp” is about 1 oz of fluid.
- Players should regularly consume 32-64 oz during a 2 hour practice.
- Do not be afraid to consume a small portion of solid food at halftime to reload.
- A few bites of an energy/granola bar, orange wedges, fruit snacks or sport gel will do.
- You must make a conscious effort replenish fluid/carbs or you will be forced to accept a suboptimal performance.

Post Game Recovery

- Strive to consume half of your body weight in grams of carbohydrate within 30 min following practice or games.
- A 140 pound athlete should consume 70 grams of carbs within this window of time.
- The food label will tell you how many grams are in a serving of food/drink.
- Sports drink = 14g, banana = 27g, fig bar = 11g of carbohydrate per serving.
- Recovery snacks should be high in carbohydrate, low in fat and contain some protein.
- Expect “heavy legs” if you miss your recovery window.
- Fast food restaurants and concession stands are not good options.
- Strive to have a post-game meal in about 2 hours to continue to refuel.
- This meal should be a high carbohydrate, low fat meal.
- Fluids should be replaced at a rate of 20 oz for every pound of body weight lost during practice/game. You can monitor this by weighing yourself pre/post game to get an idea.
- If you routinely lose weight during practice/games, your pre-game and game time hydration habits are poor.

Jonathan Sams, PT, DPT
Board Certified in Orthopaedics
Certified Strength/Conditioning Specialist