For many athletes, off-training periods mean that their activity level has decreased. With a decrease in activity, calories and carbohydrate levels typically need to decrease. A balanced diet including complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats should be our goal all the time. But, when we aren't training, we can usually decrease our carbohydrate percentage as our body does not need the same intake for energy. While in training we may have athletes consuming 60-70% of their calories from carbohydrates. We can often decrease that percentage to 50-55% in off-training season.
It is especially important to discuss this information with athletes who may not go on to become professional athletes. Many athletes continue their heavy eating patterns long after their days of collegiate sports or intense activity have ended. This can often lead to a high weight gain and the issues that come along with that.
Overall, it's important for all of us to be proactive about our nutrition and adapt it based on our activity level. Educating younger athletes about the need to alter their nutrition during different times can ultimately help them with performance and health, not only in athletics, but in life.
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