Caloric Breakdown
Athlete Nutrition
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Athlete Nutrition Breakdown.
Take Your Performance to the Next Level

Athlete nutrition will help you improve your endurance, gains, body composition, and overall fitness and game. The general advice on the first page will help, but this more scientific approach will make your athlete nutrition even more effective.

There are 3 major components of your caloric intake that you're going to want to consider:

    The Finish Line
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats

Below you will get a more detailed explanation of each...


Your athlete nutrition should consist of sufficient calories from carbs. Carbs got kind of a bad rap from the "Atkins Diet," but athletes definitely need to take in carbs. Nutrition for sports consists of a high intake of carbohydrates.

As mentioned earlier, a good rule of thumb is to have your carb intake be about 60% of your diet. Carbohydrates are the first source of energy used for physical activities such as basketball. Carb deficiencies can lead to fatigue and poor performance or training.

  • Carbs should be the largest source of calories and included in every meal
    Carbs are converted to glycogen, and then back to glucose to fuel your body and give you energy. It is the first and foremost source for any athlete's energy.

  • Carbs are especially important shortly before and after physical activity.
    You're larger meal 3-4 hours before an activity should include "starchy" carbohydrates such as breads and pastas and be between 500-1,000 calories. Meals with higher fat percentages should be avoided at this time.

    You should also take in some carbs 30-60 minutes before an activity in the form of a smaller meal or snack. This snack should be primarily carbohydrates, but not include large amounts of gaseous foods like raw fruits and vegetables. Total carbs should be between 25 grams and 100 grams, depending on your body makeup and the duration of the exercise.

    Since your body uses carbs first for energy, physical activity can lead to carb deficiencies if carbs aren't replenished throughout your workout and directly after. 25-75 Grams of carbohydrates per hour, through sports drinks, gels, etc.

    Perhaps more important is to replenish your carbs within 15-30 minutes of your activity. This depends on your body make-up, how many carbs you took in during your game/training, and the length of the event.


Protein may be overused in athlete nutrition. Although it is essential for muscle cell recovery, it is the last source of energy, even behind fat. I do love protein supplements to help with recovery, but not as a primary source for calories. It should be about 20%.

You don't want a deficiency of protein, nor a large surplus.
Insufficient amounts of protein can actually lead to loss of muscle mass (I have seen it with myself in the past). But surpluses of protein (especially before an activity) can lead to earlier fatigue because of less efficient forms of energy being available. It can also lead to dehydration.

Don't get me wrong! Protein is important to basketball nutrition. Higher amounts of protein should be utilized shortly after your training or game. As mentioned earlier, it is a key component to muscle cell recovery, so don't deprive yourself of it. It should be a component of every meal, but don't overdo it! About 20% per day.


Fats are more important to an athlete than I originally thought before doing my research on athlete nutrition. They are actually used before protein as an energy source while engaged in physical activity. Many athletes are not getting enough fat from their diets.

  • Too much is not good, especially before a game or training. It can cause sluggishness and muscle cramps. Try limiting high fat foods before and during training.

  • Too little fat in your overall diet is detrimental as well.
    Since it is your body's second source of fuel behind carbs, a deficiency in fat can cause you to fatigue more quickly. After "prolonged" outputs of energy, fat (the "good" kind/unsaturated) is the primary source of fuel for your body.

    This is where it may count most! If you're diet lacks in fat, then you may be drained by the 4th quarter and not be able to put forth your best effort. This is why good fat is an important component of basketball nutrition. Your diet should consist of about 20% fat. As with protein, it should be included in all meals, but not overdone.


As you can tell, athlete nutrition is somewhat involved. Try to think of it both in terms of daily intake, as well as essential nutrition for sports involving nutrition guidelines for pre-activity, activity, and post-activity "meals".

Check out the recommended top foods for athletes.

In short:

  • Keep track of your sports nutrition
  • Keep yourself Hydrated
  • Include Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat in every meal. Approximately at 60-20-20%.
  • Check out the top athletic foods!

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Athlete Nutrition Top Foods

Athlete Nutrition
High Protein Foods
Sports Supplements
Top Foods for Athletes

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