There are thousands of articles about the effects of junk food on general health; however, these facts are often not enough to filter out the occasional temptation to order that burger that will arrive immediately and is devoured in minutes. Within 10 minutes, it is easy to forget that this even happened; however, don’t be surprised when you don’t feel like you are performing at your best next time you are on the field.
Next time you are standing in a line for junk food, here are a few game-changers to think about – particularly as a sportsman.
- MSG’s – short for monosodium glutamate, this artificial flavour enhancer’s name sounds exactly like what it is – a chemical constructed in a laboratory to have you hooked on the food it contains. It’s like human catnip and keeps us craving bad food. As sportsman, we need to keep mentally alert on the field to take advantage of opportunities and avoid injury. MSG negatively impacts on mental health; causing headaches, hormone fluctuations and muscle weakness.
- Fat and sugar. You may think that you are burning these things off as a sportsman and so you can’t really overdo your intake. It’s not quite that simple and it’s not just about your body fat percentage. Too much sugar and fat results in a slower metabolism, poor endurance of physical activity, pancreatic problems, diabetes and problems with heart disease and high blood pressure later on in life.
- Processed fats – the heart’s unnatural enemy. These fats, found in all junk food do not raise huge concerns during a person’s youth; however, they do have an impact on how long you last in your sport of choice. If you intend on becoming a professional player for as long as you can, then stay clear of junk food. Collecting in your arteries, these fats limit blood flow through the heart – resulting in early fatigue when exercising, dizziness and heart disease (which may be fatal when exercising).
Curb Those Cravings
We are all human and the billboards displaying a juicy burger and chips are all too tempting – especially when placed near to the source. We have a few tips to help you ignore those cravings and head straight home for dinner.
- Remember what is important. Your passion for rugby is your motivation – keep it in mind with everything you put in your mouth. Imagine that bad foods are opponents trying to tackle you – make sure you easily sidestep them when they arrive.
- Make sure the house is stocked and that meals out are planned. Keep enough healthy groceries in the house and you will find it easy to put something together for breakfast, school lunches and dinners. A lack of groceries and being underprepared are a big reason for buying junk food – make sure you always have a healthy option.
- Relish the healthy variety. Get your creativity going and think out of the box when making healthy food; it doesn’t need to be bland or boring. Over time, your tastes will adapt to preferring this food over those bad cravings.
- When faced with junk food, think about what is more important – the deliciousness that is in front of you or your sporting goal. If you are still tempted, then you may want to rethink your sporting goals and how much you are willing to work for them.