NFL training camp is a critical time of the year where teams figure out which players will make their starting lineup and get their athletes ready to compete during the season. In this article we are going to look at what players eat during NFL training camp to ensure they can perform their best during the season. Let’s get started!
What Do NFL Players Eat During Training Camp?
NFL players in training camp are provided with healthy nutritious food. There is an emphasis on lean meat such as chicken and steak, fish, green vegetables, whole grain breads, brown rice and fruit. Players receive personalized meal plans based on their goals.
During NFL training players eat most of their meals in the team’s cafeteria also known as a training table. At the training table NFL players have access to the very best organic produce which is cooked daily by a team of professional chefs.
NFL players are able to choose from a wide range of foods. The coaching staff and team nutritionists try to ensure the food is as healthy as possible and there is a specific emphasis on organic fruit and vegetables and high quality protein sources such as grass fed beef, wild fish and free range chicken. NFL teams provide food that is free of chemicals and ideally locally produced to ensure its freshness.
During NFL training camp all players are encouraged to eat healthy and make wise nutritional choices. NFL nutritionists want athletes to eat a high protein diet made up of lean protein sources (chicken, fish, steak), moderate fats and medium to high complex carbs (brown rice, multi grain bread).
An example of an ideal NFL player’s meal may include:
- Grass fed steak
- Brown rice
- Yogurt for dessert
Every single NFL athlete will receive a customized diet plan from the team’s nutritionist. The nutritionist will consult with the player and coaching staff to come up with a diet plan that the player is capable of following and will produce the desired result.
Players are not forced to eat specific foods and are not obliged to eat in the cafeteria during training camp. However, if they are unable to make the desired changes to their physical bodies and hit specified benchmarks they will be reprimanded and may be cut from the NFL roster.
For example if an NFL player arrives at training camp weighing 220 pounds at 18% body fat percentage and the coaching staff want the player down to 210 pounds at 15% body fat percentage. This player is well within his right to follow his own diet plan but coaches are going to be less sympathetic to him if he doesn’t follow the diet and fails to drop excess weight.
However, at the end of the day it comes down to on field performance, so even if a player is carrying a few extra pounds of fat or is a little undersized for his position if he is playing well then the coaches are going to cut him slack.
Contrary to what most NFL fans think many players do not need to lose weight when they arrive to training camp. Many NFL athletes need to gain weight whiles others need to maintain their current size but replace a few pounds of fat for a bit more muscle.
A player’s current physique compared to their ideal physique will determine the quantity of food they eat but most player’s will be instructed to eat similar things. However, nutritionists will listen to players wants and ask them how their body reacts to certain foods and make changes based on these answers.
For example some NFL athletes love fish while others can’t even stand to look at seafood. Players who enjoy fish will get allocated more fish in their diet while those who aren’t fans of seafood will be allocated other similar protein sources such as chicken.
NFL players also have performance goals which require a certain diet to achieve. For example players who need to some extra endurance may be instructed to eat some additional carbs to their diet or snack more frequently throughout the day. Or NFL athletes who need to increase their bench press and squat may have some extra grams of protein included in their diet plan.
What Do NFL Players Eat During Training Camp Before Training?
To fuel their workouts NFL players will typically eat fruits such as bananas, apples, pineapple, yogurt, granola and other high carb foods. These foods provide a surge of fast releasing energy and are easily digestible which make them ideal to eat before training.
Most NFL players during training camp prefer a light breakfast as they don’t want to feel too full when they are working out. At the same time they don’t want to run out of energy and feel weak out on the football field.
Due to this many NFL athletes opt to eat a medium sized breakfast made up of high carb and easily digestible foods. Some popular choices include fruits, granola, yogurts, toast and even pancakes!
NFL players who like to get a hit of protein in the morning before practice will also add some eggs, chicken or sausage to their meal. Many NFL athletes tend to avoid eating too much protein or fat for breakfast as it leaves them feeling tired and too full. Typically, heavy fat and protein foods are left until after training is over.
What Do NFL Players Eat During Training Camp Post Training?
During training camp NFL players eat a protein heavy post training meal which also features green vegetables and some complex carbs. For example grilled chicken breast with whole wheat pasta and a spinach and tomato salad.
NFL players eat a large meal after finishing a training camp workout. The purpose of this meal is to refuel their depleted muscles, give them energy for the next workout and to stimulate muscle growth.
As protein is the building block of muscle growth NFL athletes will eat a protein heavy meal. Popular protein sources include chicken, fish and steak. NFL athletes will also consume a significant amount of slow acting carbs to replete lost glycogen. Popular carb choices include brown rice, whole grain bread and whole wheat pasta.
To ensure NFL players are eating enough micro nutrients they will also load up their plates with salads and green vegetables. NFL athletes consume high amounts of spinach, cabbage, asparagus and other super healthy green vegetables.
So there you have it during NFL training camp all NFL players are encouraged to eat a healthy diet consisting of organic and lean protein such as fish, chicken and steak combined with green vegetables, fruit and complex grains including brown rice, whole wheat pasta and multi grain bread.
The exact foods and amount NFL players eat will depend on their goals and their personal preferences. Players who need to gain size will eat more calories and will be able to be more liberal with their diet choices while players who need to lose a lot of fat must follow stricter protocols.