What is the right Nutrition for a Basketball Player?

What is the right Nutrition for a Basketball Player?

Basketball is a team sport, but not everything is just decided in the court. Players can follow individual strategies to win the game. before the match has started. Do you want to know why is nutrition so important in basketball? Keep reading to find out!

Above all, it is a sport that focuses on the individual abilities and features of a player. For example, a center will be tall and weigh around 100kg or more. That is why paying attention to the diet is crucial. These players need to have these features because, if you weigh a lot, it is harder to move you.

Basketball court

What is the important of nutrition in Basketball?

Currently, there are many factors that cannot be overlooked such as the style of playing the game, changes in rules and other circumstances. But when it comes to the sport performance, physical preparation, hydration, diet and rest, we need to focus on nutrition. Using ergogenic products and supplements will make a difference between the players and club.

Unlike other sports, basketball players will have different physiques: heights from 175cm to 230cm, weights from 60kg to 130kg, etc. All this together with endless different abilities: good throwers, game organizers, defenders, etc.

Depending on these features, they are organized in different positions: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center.

Do you want to learn more about the physiological determinants of a basketball player? Click on this link.

Each one has different features and functions in the game. However, all of them follow the same rules. They have to attack and defend for 24 seconds, which results in a frenetic pace.

Regarding the physiological aspects, basketball is an alternating aerobic-anaerobic sport. Consequently, it demands energy both from the aerobic and anaerobic pathways.

The proof is in the high heart rate and lactate levels apart from the high energy requirements.

Basketball ball

What are the objectives of the players?

Each player will have different objectives and these can even change during the season.

The differences in terms of height, weight, physical composition, age, injury history… means that we have to work individually. Above all, it is necessary to adapt all of these to the team.

Therefore, we can list the following objectives:

1. Gaining muscle mass

Specially in the youngest players and after the season is over and the next one begins.

Usually, it involves a diet with a calorie surplus adapted to the type of workout and intensity. Usually, the most common supplements are:

  • Creapure Creatine by HSNraw.
  • HMB
  • Evolate 2.0 by HSNsports
  • Evocasein 2.0 or time released protein

2. Losing body fat

This period mainly takes place during the pre-season and during the season in specific cases, injury or new members.

In these cases, we will have to do a calorie adjustment without hindering the performance.

3. Improving the performance

The diet will depend on the workouts, type of work, trips and matches of the week.

These are the supplements that we mainly use:

  • Beta-Alanine
  • Leucine
  • Protein Isolate
  • Evorecovery by HSNsports
  • Casein
  • Caffeine
  • Evoenergy by HSNsports.
  • Evodrink 2.0

4. Injuries and pathologies

Adjusting the diet due to injuries and the recovery period will shorten the time it takes to improve. Moreover, using supplements or ergogenic products will serve this purpose too.

Pre-, Intra- and Post-Competition Nutrition and Supplementation

Now, let’s see what should be a correct nutrition and supplementation in key periods for a basketball player:

Movistar Estudiantes

Pre-Competition

Avoid taking spicy food, spices you have never tried before, dairy products and foods rich in fiber.

The reason? All this can cause gastric discomfort, slow gastric emptying, bad performance.

The previous meal will be done 3 hours before approximately. Make sure to be properly hydrated, something you can assess by the color of your urine, unless you are taking medication or a multivitamin which can also change its color.

During the Competition

At this time, we will deplete the muscle glycogen deposits, apart from losing fluids and electrolytes.

That is why we need to ensure a good hydration. Therefore, using electrolytes will be key to hydrate the tissues and cells. On the contrary, we will not be properly hydrated during long workouts or matches with a hot weather.

The players from Movistar Estudiantes use Evodrink 2.0 or Evocarbs 2.0, which includes fast absorption carbohydrates. This will also depend on the weather, type of workout or its duration.

Many players do not enjoy isotonic drinks, which is why they also use water and gels with electrolytes and carbs. A good option would be taking Evoenergy by HSNsports.

Post-Competition

The objective after the physical effort is to make sure that the player has enough nutrients for a good recovery.

That is why we have to avoid foods rich in fat that would delay the nutrient absorption. Moreover, we also use fast absorption supplements rich in carbohydrates to recharge the glycogen lost during the workout or competition. In addition, we also take at least 25g of protein to trigger the anabolism.

Movistar Estudiantes relies on Evorecovery by HSNsports, with hydrolyzed protein and new generation carbohydrates.

Moreover, you can combine it with solid or semi-solid food. Drinks, juices and shakes also help to keep the body hydrated.

Most common ergogenic supplements and products

These are the HSN supplements that the Movistar Estudiantes uses during the competition:

Caffeine

The objective is to increase the resistance of the player. Moreover, it also improves the neuromuscular contraction, sharpens the focus, apart from improving the reflexes and delaying the onset of fatigue.

It has been proven that it can improve the sprint time of the players more than a 3%.

We use 3-6mg/kg of weight with a minimum dose of 150mg and a maximum of 300mg. Usually, the players take it 30-45 minutes before the competition.

Beta-Alanine

Precursor amino acid of carnosine. It deals with the proton accumulation in the muscle after the workout or match.

Moreover, it is also an intracellular buffer, helping to improve the performance at a high intensity.

The dose is 4-6g a day distributed in 3 servings. One of them is taken 30 minutes before the workout and another after the workout is over.

Women's league

Creatine Monohydrate

It is used for different purposes:

  • Supporting the muscle in terms of growth and performance.
  • Increasing the maximal isometric strength.
  • Improving the performance in high intensity sets.
  • Improving the strength-potency relation.
  • Supporting the protein synthesis and cell hydration.
  • Shortening the recovery and delaying the fatigue.

The dose is 0.3g/kg of weight a day. Depending on the moment of the season we can do a fast loading phase with 20-30g, distributed in 4 servings for 7 days.

During the season, we may use this supplement exceptionally with a maintenance phase of 3-8g a day depending on the individual. Usually, the players add it to a shake at the end of the workout.

Citrulline

It increases the strength, potency and number of repetitions. It improves the performance by being a precursor of nitric oxide, apart from buffering the effect of lactate. Consequently, it delays the onset of fatigue and improves the muscle recovery processes.

In general, the dose is 6-8g a day, 30 minutes and 1 hour before a strength workout. If it causes gastrointestinal discomfort, we can leave more time in between its intake and the workout.

HMB

It is a Leucine metabolite. A 5% of the leucine we take from the diet is transformed into HMB, which is why this product is so interesting.

Moreover, it improves the muscle synthesis and recovery, buffers the catabolism and helps to increase the fat-free mass.

We specially use it in the pre-season, for injuries and holidays during the season. The players take 2-4g/day, 30 minutes before or after the workout.

Whey Protein

This is one of the most popular supplements and we use it at different times of the day and season.

It is an essential product due to the high energy requirements of some of the players and the high nutrient density of protein shakes.

Moreover, it is used for the muscle recovery and to gain muscle mass during hypertrophy and post-competition recovery.

For example, these are the ones that we use the most: plant-based protein, isolate, hydrolyzate, as well as casein.

We take into account if the player is vegetarian or vegan. In this circumstance, we use a plant-based protein by HSN, such as Pea Protein Isolate by HSNessentials.

The rest of the players take Whey or Casein depending on the objective and the time of the intake.

Why casein? It has a slow absorption rate, which is why it always has to be used after the workout or match, never before.

HSN women's league

Recovery

It is used after the matches and workouts. Above all, it helps us recharge the glycogen deposits, apart from providing a post-workout protein supply.

The players take Evorecovery so that they will benefit from the best recovery with the necessary nutrients.

Isotonic drinks and gels

They help to recharge the electrolytes, water and glycogen lost through sweating.

Moreover, they help us save muscle glycogen, supporting the thermoregulation during the workout. In other words, it reduces the amount of sweat.

Gels combined with water and isotonic drinks support the performance and post-workout recovery. Depending on the weather, the hours of workout and the type of workout, we may use hypertonic, isotonic or hypotonic formulas.

Omega-3

The body does not produce enough DHA and EPA endogenously. Therefore, taking between 800-1200mg a day will support the immune system, producing anti-inflammatory effects after the exercise and supporting the protein synthesis.

It is better to take it in the morning or at night, so that it will not alter the gastric emptying both before and after the workout.

Vitamin D

Basketball is an indoor sport, so the players do not really get much sunlight. In addition, their vitamin D requirements are higher than the non-sporting population.

It supports the calcium absorption, apart from supporting the muscle function and the immune system. Moreover, it regulates the mitochondrial function of the skeletal muscle while repairing the muscles. The recommended dose during periods with less sunlight is 1000-3000 IU/day.

Vitamin B12

This one is used by vegan players. The dose will depend on the analytical values and how long the player has been following this diet.

Multivitamins and minerals

These are used in specific cases, even though there is no evidence that this can improve the performance when compared to a good diet.

In HSN, they have also come up with specific multivitamins to meet the requirements of men and women. Find out more:

Melatonin

This hormone is produced by the pineal gland helps us sleep and improve all the anabolic processes during the night.

Above all, this supplement is used for players that attend international competitions or trips.

But it is also an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory on pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, it can be useful to take it 1 hour before bedtime and before 23h-00h, if you want to reach the highest endogenous melatonin peak.

The dose is between 5-30mg, an excess can cause somnolence and a bad performance the day after its intake.

Movistar Estudiantes individual workout

Conclusions

It is important to adjust the nutrition and supplementation protocols to each player according to their position, objective and time of the season.

Moreover:

  • Nutrition is all about discipline. You should never try out a supplement, food or drink before a match. Always try them during the workouts.
  • Both the supplementation and nutrition have to be supervised by a professional nutritionist or a physician.
  • Without a good diet, supplements will not work, since they can be affected by different physiological functions.
  • Individualization is key when it comes to reaching our objectives.

Bibliography:

You can read more related content in the following links:

  • Dr. Juan José Pérez, form Movistar Estudiantes, gives us some advice about HSN supplements, here
  • Gym sessions for Basketball players. Read more
Nutrition for a Basketball Player Review

Importance for the players - 100%

Objectives - 100%

Most common products - 100%

Supplements used - 100%

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HSN Evaluation: 5 /5
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About Alfonso Romero
Alfonso Romero
Alfonso Romero, nutritionist at Movistar Estudiantes
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