Great Cornerback Diet
Maximize your diet, Maximize your performance
It can't be stressed enough how important your diet is when it comes to your performance. Just like you need to maximize your training, you also need to maximize your diet to be great.
The two go hand-in-hand.
On the other hand, a bad diet can lead to decreased performance and even injury.
Now, while there may seem like there's a similar diet for similar athletes, say cornerbacks, any diet you consume should be tailored to your personal needs and goals.
It should also be tailored to your personal tastes, because let's face it: if the food doesn't taste good, you're probably not gonna eat it.
Whether they be fat loss, muscle gain, increased anaerobic performance, maintenance, or a combination thereof, reaching these goals involve adjusting the three major components of your cornerback diet.
The components you consume in large amounts daily are called your "macronutrients". They include:
- and last, but definitely not least, water.
I will elaborate on their purpose in your cornerback diet as well as how much of each you should consume, depending on your goals.
Protein is the building block of your body: it makes up organ, muscle, and bone tissue. Surprisingly, protein in the human body is more than 70% water.
It's purpose is mainly tissue repair following training sessions and building muscle mass.
Although I will be explaining your calorie needs in terms of protein, it is actually the amino acids that make up the protein that your body requires.
Your body needs all of 20 amino acids.
Eleven (11) of these are synthesized by the body and are called "non-essential" amino acids.
The other nine (9) have to be consumed through your diet and are called "essential" amino acids.
While involved in your cornerback training program, you should be consuming about 1.5 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Two-thirds or more of this protein should come from high quality, or "complete," proteins such as lean meats and fish.
The rest can come in the form of lower quality proteins, such as that from veggies, beans, grains, and gelatin.
Protein shakes can help if you don't get enough protein from your food.
In your cornerback diet, protein should amount to between 10-20% of your total caloric intake.
If your goal is to lose body fat, and you burn more calories than you eat (which is very easy to do while training) then your protein requirements increase to a higher percentage.
This is because your body breaks down muscle tissue during training, and the protein in your cornerback diet is used repair it. If you don't ingest enough protein, it can lead to decreased performance and injury.
For example, if your daily caloric burn is 3500 calories, and you consume 3200 in order to lose fat, then your protein consumption should be kept consistent or increased, thereby increasing your percentage.
Carbohydrates can be classified into three different groups depending on the number of sugar units they contain:
- Monosaccharides (simple carbs) contain one unit of sugar per molecule. These simple sugars include glucose (or dextrose), the main source of energy in the human body, fructose, and galactose.
- Disaccharides contain two units of sugar combined. Examples include sucrose, or table sugar, which is just a combination of glucose with fructose, and lactose, or milk sugar, which is a combination of glucose with galactose.
- Polysaccharides, or complex carbohydrates, include starch, fiber, and glycogen, which is stored in short supply in the muscles.
If protein represents the bricks that build the house, then carbs are the brick layers. Carbohydrates serve mainly to supply the energy your body needs to either burn fat or build muscle.
Since carbohydrate intake doesn't seem to significantly impact anaerobic performance, a consumption level of five to six grams per kilogram of body weight (5-6g/kg) per day is sufficient.
So if you weight 85 kilos, then your cornerback diet should include somewhere between 425 to 510 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Your recommended carbohydrate intake percentage is between 45% and 65%, depending on your body composition goals.
In your cornerback diet, least 38 grams of your carbs should include fiber, because you don't want to be full of it while your trying to backpedal and break.
A mixture of simple and complex carbs is preferable, but try to keep the majority of your carbs on the complex side.
Fats (or Lipids)
Contrary to popular belief, fat is actually an essential and beneficial part of your diet and your body. The idea of limiting or completely eliminating fat from your cornerback diet can be detrimental to your training and performance.
While protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, fat contains more than double that energy at 9 calories per gram. This is why fat is primarily stored in your body as adipose tissue, which serves as an energy source.
But it also has other important functions, like providing insulation and protection for your organs.
Fat is also important in hormonal regulation and serves as carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E. It provides the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary for the formation of healthy cell membranes, development and functioning of your brain and nervous system, and the production of hormones.
It also makes food taste better. So as you can see, you need fat in your cornerback diet.
Your daily fat intake should be between twenty to thirty percent (20-30%) of your total caloric intake. Any lower than fifteen percent (15%) and you may end up decreasing your testosterone production, thus decreasing muscle development (among other things...).
Basically, very low fat diets are not recommended for athletes.
The cholesterol found in some fatty foods has some similar functions as fat and, while you can limit it, should also not be completely eliminated from your cornerback diet.
It is recommended that ten percent (10%) of your energy, about half your fat intake, come from Omega-6 (linoleic) fatty acids and 0.6 to 1.2% from Omega-3 (linolenic) fatty acids.
Water has more effect on your performance than any other nutrient.
Read that again.
Your body is mostly water. Your muscles and organs are about 75% water, so staying hydrated is very important if you want to perform at high levels without injuring yourself.
That being said, it recommended that you consume 96 ounces to a gallon (96-128oz.) per day. Since you may sweat out a significant amount of water on training days, a good way to make sure you're hydrated is to measure your weight before and after you train.
Then, you drink the amount of water equal to the (water) weight you lost during your training session.
You should also drink at regular intervals during your training sessions.
Like I said before, any diet you consume should fit your individual goals and needs, while still providing you with complete nutrition, including vitamins and minerals, your body needs to function properly.
Staying within these macronutrient guidelines, along with proper nutritional supplements, will ensure that your diet can support your training and help increase your performance.
*Some of this information was derived from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning