Fueling Football Players: Easy or Hard?

Next Level Podcast with Host Tavis Piattoly, MS, RD, LD

Lisa Dorfman- Podcast

Lisa Dorfman MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC
Known globally as The Running Nutritionist ® Lisa is a Licensed & Board Certified Sports Dietitian/Nutritionist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified USA T&F & USA Triathlon Coach, former professional triathlete & the 2008 US Olympic/Paralympic Sailing Teams Nutritionist.

Fueling a busy and very active football player can be a big challenge. Lisa is up for the challenge. Known globally as The Running Nutritionist ® Lisa is a Licensed & Board Certified Sports Dietitian/Nutritionist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified USA T&F & USA Triathlon Coach, former professional triathlete & the 2008 US Olympic/Paralympic Sailing Teams Nutritionist. Lisa is personal nutritionist to hundreds of youth, teen, collegiate & professional athletes in the NFL, MLB, USTA, US Boxing & more than 20 individual & team sports.

Since 1983 Lisa has nutritionally coached & educated thousands of student athletes, coaches & parents on healthy strategies for achieving optimal health in the classroom, in sport & in life. As former Director of the University of Miami Graduate Program in Nutrition for Health & Human Performance/Professor -Department of Kinesiology & Sports Sciences & Hurricanes Athletic Teams Sports Nutritionist (2003-2013); Culinary Nutrition instructor at Johnson & Wales University and Miami Culinary Institute @ Miami Dade College, Lisa’s dedication, passion & enthusiasm regarding food as fuel for Health, sport & life is evident by the respect & appreciation of coaches, athletes, students and parents worldwide

Lisa is a competitive runner and triathlete who has competed in more than 34 marathons (PR 2:52:32), IronmanUSA Lake Placid, dozens of half marathons and 1/2 ironmans, and hundreds of running and multisport races. In 2004, she competed for the United States on Team USA at the World Long Distance Duathlon Championships. Lisa resides in Miami, Florida with her husband and 3 children.

Top 10 Snacks to Fuel Up before Football Practice

In this podcast you will learn:

  1. When Lisa discovered a love for football?
  2. The challenges she sees regarding football players meeting their nutrition needs?
  3. Nutrition principles football players should consider that could elevate performance.
  4. Nutrition principles she recommends to players trying to pack on weight and muscle.
  5. Whether specific positions require more calories than others (i.e. OL vs a Linebacker)?
  6. The Pre-Game Meal and types of pre-game meals that are best?
  7. Her recommendations to help athlete’s hydrate with the right type of drink?
  8. Which is best to hydrate? (Water, Sports drinks, or both?)?
  9. Sports Supplements for Football and Supplement Safety Practices?
  10. Her new great eBook on Performance Nutrition for Football Players: Gain the Advantage and why she wanted to create it?
  11. Topics discussed in the Ebook?
  12. Where you can purchase Lisa’s eBook?

Links and Resources 

Podcast Transcript

0:25  Welcome by Tavis Piattoly

1:41  Introduction to Lisa Dorfman

  • Known globally as The Running Nutritionist. 
  • Former Director of the University of Miami Graduate Program in Nutrition for Health & Human Performance/Professor -Department of Kinesiology & Sports Sciences & Hurricanes Athletic Teams Sports Nutritionist (2003-2013)
  • Lisa has nutritionally coached & educated thousands of student athletes, coaches & parents on healthy strategies for achieving optimal health in the classroom, in sport & in life.

5:05  When Lisa discovered a love for football?

  • While serving as the Athletic Teams Sports Nutritionist at the University of Miami for a decade, I developed a deep respect for players who invest their whole lives into this.  

7:00  The challenges she sees regarding football players meeting their nutrition needs?

  • Consistency and schedule conflicts
    • Athletes might be into nutrition one day and not the next.
    • Exams, peer pressure, a day off, all get in the way of consistency.
  • Getting enough calories at the right time of day, from the right food groups.
    • Preparation and recovery
      • Getting up too late to eat breakfast, no time to pack a lunch and snacks, busy with classes all day until practice, may not eat all day.
    • Absorption 
      • If only getting energy from two large meals a day, an athlete can’t possibly absorb all the nutrients in that large meal.
  • Getting high quality protein and fat sources.
  • Athletes are on a 24/7 schedule of mending and repairing, and then preparing for the next workout.  Even in the offseason and preseason.  It’s all preparation.  It’s a year round sport.

11:41  Nutrition principles football players should consider that could elevate performance.

  • Keep it simple, colorful and REAL
    • Eat whole, colorful foods
    • Drink shakes, baby food 

14:32  Nutrition principles she recommends to players trying to pack on weight and muscle.

  • For high school athletes, hormones drive weight gain, so you can only gain so much weight.
    • Takes time to build muscle
    • Protein 
      • 3-4 oz every couple hours throughout the day, served with whole grains and vegetables.
  • Limit breakdown compounds in: 
    • Fried foods
    • Soda
    • Processed foods
  • Recovery fuel
    • Prepare to have something while still on the field, to have something within that recovery window.
    • Examples: shake or bar

18:40  Whether specific positions require more calories than others (i.e. OL vs a Linebacker)?

  • Goals
    • More mass requires more calories.
    • Muscle requires calories but it differs from athlete to athlete based on the amount of muscle mass that they have.
    • I sit 1:1 with each player and individualize their meal plan to their liking.
    • Calorie dense foods to pack in the calories:
      • Nut butters, whole milk

22:26  The Pre-Game Meal and types of pre-game meals that are best?

  • Keep it plain to avoid GI distress
    • Avoid the “F” words: fiber and fat
    • Fruit juice, smoothie, no apple with skin on
    • Fiber is great, but not on game day
    • Don’t need much fat on game day
  • Plain carbohydrates with protein are important on game day
    • Turkey, ham or roast beef sub (go light on the veggies), chicken and rice, eggs and toast, pasta, baked potatoes.
    • Protein will even out the energy levels and keep an athlete satiated longer.
  • Don’t stuff
    • 3-4 hours prior to the game, have a substantial meal
    • For a pre-game kick, have a 250-300 calorie bar an hour before the game.
  • Fluid
    • A couple bottles of fluid up to about 45 minutes before game time.
    • Get rid of access in the gut

26:50  Her recommendations to help athlete’s hydrate with the right type of drink?

Fluid needs: half your weight in ounces, then divide by 8oz to get cups.

  • Urine color: should look like lemonade 
  • Water
    • Some athletes cramp up because it’s hot outside.
    • Need some electrolytes
  • Electrolyte rich sports drink that are not excessive in sugar
    • Lite sports drink, or a lite sugary drink
    • Too much sugar will damage the gut and teeth and potentially cause weight gain.
  • 100% Fruit drinks that are lower in sugar
  • Milk (not right before the game)
    • Lactose free
  • Tea (not sweet tea)

32:20  Sports Supplements for Football and Supplement Safety Practices?

  • What I always say is, supplements supplement a whole food diet.  I see too much attention and energy spent on supplements and not enough attention to the diet. The diet has to come first. 
  • There’s a place for bars, shakes and mass gainers, but meals come first.
  • BCAA: Leucine is especially important for rebuilding the muscle and healing
  • Safety_Proceed with caution
    • Look for certification agencies specific to sports (NSF, Informed Choice)
    • Caffeine: some energy drinks contain way too much. 
      • Not good for the heart.
      • Negative associated behavior when consuming high caffeine drinks
        • Increases risky behavior
  • Consult a dietitian to discuss which supplement is going to help you best
    • Creatine: critical in regenerating energy, but not the place to start.
    • Nitric Oxide may have a valid benefit in the ability to perform better, feel better and go longer during a workout.
      • Beet juice, spinach

39:00  Her new great eBook on Performance Nutrition for Football Players: Gain the Advantage and why she wanted to create it?

  • It’s my way of giving back to the athletes that spend their whole life in sport.
  • I want to help prevent injury and illness and keep the athlete on the field.
  • Athletes are misguided by friends, parents and coaches.

41:55  Topics discussed in the Ebook?

  • Season specific
    • What do you do differently preseason, season and postseason?
  • Position specific
    • What is different for a lineman versus a receiver?
  • Goal specific
    • Lose weight or gain weight?

42:52  Where you can purchase Lisa’s eBook?

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