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Maximizing Performance: Sports Nutrition Tips for Young Athletes

As the title sponsor of the Hoag Classic and Hoag OC Marathon, and the official health care partner of the Los Angeles Chargers and the World Surf League in California, Hoag has long been committed to promoting exercise and a healthy lifestyle for athletes.

Our latest partnership with the Orange County Soccer Club reinforces that commitment. We aim to also put a spotlight on how to guide young athletes to achieve optimal performance in sports, which isn’t just about physical training but also about proper nutrition.

“Youth athletes need to pay special attention to their dietary habits to fuel their growing bodies and enhance athletic performance,” said Dr. Seethal Motamarri, D.O., with Hoag Medical Group Sports Medicine. “We help explore key sports nutrition needs to help young athletes excel in their chosen sport and also support them through long-term athletic development. It’s important to set down a foundation for a lifetime of success in sports and beyond.” 

Dr. Motamarri shares some nutrition tips for young athletes.

  1. Balanced Diet: Young athletes should focus on maintaining a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all food groups. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are essential for providing the energy and nutrients needed for training, recovery, and overall health.
  2. Timing of Meals: The timing of meals and snacks is crucial for young athletes to optimize energy levels and performance. We encourage eating a balanced meal containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats about 2-3 hours before exercise to provide sustained energy.
  3. Hydration: Proper hydration is essential for young athletes to maintain optimal performance and prevent dehydration. It’s important to drink water regularly throughout the day, especially during and after exercise. Sports drinks should be consumed in moderation, not as a substitute for water.
  4. Avoid Junk Food: While occasional treats are okay, young athletes should limit their intake of junk food and sugary snacks. These foods provide empty calories and can negatively impact energy levels, recovery, and overall health.
  5. Listen to Your Body: Young athletes should always listen to their bodies and eat according to their hunger and energy levels. Know your body’s signs of hunger, thirst, fatigue and even boredom. Make smart decisions and be prepared with the right foods.

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