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NUTRITION: A CRUCIAL ELEMENT TO ATHLETIC SUCCESS

Proper nutrition is vital to getting your body to perform at peak levels. GSPN caught up with the owner of Boka Box in Nutritionist Jesse Rosario to explain the power of balancing nutrition, especially for athletes.

By Brandon Kinsella

Every athlete should desire to perform at their best each time they compete. Some athletes want to be the best player on the floor, or the strongest person in the gym. Others may be striving to just be the best version of themselves in whatever sport they are competing in. Whatever the case may be, none of these goals are possible without proper nutrition.

GSPN sat with Nutritionist and owner of Boka Box, Jesse “Cho B” Rosario, for a breakdown on the essentiality of healthy eating habits. This article aims to give insight to all Guam athletes, but most especially to young athletes who may be unaware of just how important it is to eat healthy when playing a sport.

“If you’re an athlete, that’s what you want. You want your body to perform at optimum. But in order to do this, you need to give your body the right fuel to ensure you are performing the best you possibly can.”

Professional athletes like MMA’s Frank ‘The Crank’ Camacho, Jon ‘Super Saiyan’ Tuck and tri-athlete Manami Iijima are just some of the athletes who have benefited from Rosario’s Nutrition plans and they continue to endorse the power of healthier eating.

A Change in Mindset

Rosario noted that when it comes to food, athletes have a larger responsibility to be mindful of how many calories their bodies need and what kind of nutrients to incorporate into their diet. But staying responsible about eating habits requires a change of mindset on food entirely,

“Athletes in general should understand that when you’re eating for a sport, you’re no longer eating just to eat. When you’re eating for a sport, each time you eat it is for a purpose. And that is to give your body the nutrients necessary to perform and also to help with the recovery process. The mindset about food then, needs to change.”

“When I was going to school, I didn’t understand how much of an impact that your diet has on performance. I was eating Wendy’s and McDonalds because that’s what was convenient. If I knew the things I know now, I would have taken an entirely different approach. I would’ve eaten more vegetables; I would’ve eaten better proteins. And just eaten more, in general. That way I would have been able to workout harder.”

How Much Does Nutrition Affect Performance?

When asked how important nutrition really is when it comes to athletic performance, Rosario noted that to him, “it is ultimately the deciding factor.”

“It doesn’t matter the sport. The person that knows how to train their bodies properly physically, while also knowing how to feed their bodies with the essential nutrients to perform better, is always going to have the upper edge. You can really train as hard as you want, but if you aren’t eating properly, you won’t be performing to the best of your body’s capability.”

Boka Box Nutrition Professional/Owner Jesse E. Rosario prepares a set of meals during their daily meal prep. (Photo by Michael Blas)

How to Start?

For athletes who would like to incorporate healthy eating habits into their routine, Rosario gave some advice for starting out.

“Nutrition can be confusing if you don’t understand it. So, don’t try to do too much when you’re first starting out. Keep it simple. If you go back and track your eating habits, it can tell a big story. That is usually the first thing I tell my clients to do. Once they can track what they have been eating, they can understand how to reach their goals.”

Being mindful of eating habits helps simplify what needs to be cut, or what needs to be added to your diet in whatever percentage that your body would respond best to. Every person requires a different diet based on body type and metabolism. Nonetheless, there are certain foods that every athlete should definitely stay away from.

“A good way for young athletes to start cleaning up their eating habits is by staying away from junk food and processed items. Eat real foods with good nutrients: carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins. Foods that are considered ‘real’ are unpackaged and unprocessed.”

Because each athlete may have different goals (i.e. gaining muscle or losing weight), and each athlete has different body types / different metabolisms, it would be good to sit with a nutritionist or dietician to discuss the best route to achieve your goals.

There are also plenty of resources at your fingertips on the internet where you can input weight, frequency of physical activity, age, etc.. But whatever route you decide to take, we hope that the information in this article inspires a change in diet to aid in optimum athletic performance.

About Rosario

With over 12 years of experience in the nutrition field, Jesse Rosario opened Guam’s first nutritionally sound meal preparation service in 2016 to help promote a healthier Guam. With a degree in CFS: Nutrition from the University of Guam, he has worked at the Guam Memorial Hospital, at nutrition research and education programs at UOG, and also served as the State Program officer for Nutrition with the Department of Education.

He has made it his life’s passion to find ways to help decrease child obesity and other health related issues that plague our small island. As a multi-sport athlete and Fitness Instructor, Jesse also works with the sports community on Guam to promote active lifestyles.

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