Congratulations on making it to week two. Let’s dig right in!
Day 8: Plan 3 days this week to cook your new recipes.
This is just as easy as it sounds. Which days will you be cooking your new meals? If you make larger recipes, you can also plan meals as leftovers.
*Make this a strength training day.
Day 9: Track how much water you drink today.
Dehydration can affect your pickleball performance, so it’s good to evaluate whether or not you’re getting enough. Without changing your normal routine, take a day to actually measure and track how much fluid you get.
But how much is enough? Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer. Water needs depend on the individual, and are different every day depending on how hot it is, how much you exercise, and how much you sweat.
If you’re a numbers person, general guidelines from the U.S. Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine say:
- Men should get about 15.5 cups
- Women should get about 11.5 cups
Another good rule is to monitor the color of your urine. If it’s colorless or pale yellow, you’re probably well hydrated. If it’s darker, you’re not getting enough.
While plain water is what you should aim for most of the time, you can get some of your liquid needs from juicy foods including fruit like melons, vegetables like celery, soups, and smoothies. Almost all liquids count (juice, milk, coffee, tea) except alcohol.
Day 10: Focus on drinking more water if you didn’t get enough yesterday.
Did you notice that your urine was a bit dark yesterday? You might have been surprised that you got far less than the recommendations. Challenge yourself today to premeasure how much you drink including all liquids except alcohol. If you eat juicy foods like melon, cucumbers, or soups, those can count too.
Day 11: Calculate your protein needs.
Math day! It’s not too hard, I promise. It’s important to get enough protein so you don’t lose muscle while we exercise, and so that your body is nourished with the amino acids it needs to make repairs.
First, convert your weight to kilograms if you don’t know it already. You can easily do this by multiplying your weight in pounds by .454. Example 140 pounds x .454 = 63.5 kilograms.
Next, decide what category you fit into in the chart below. Protein requirements are another controversial topic and are different for every individual. This chart represents general guidelines from sports nutrition experts. Notice that you need more protein if you have a heavy strength training day.
Younger Rec Player
.9 grams protein/kg/day
Recreational Player Over 50
1.2 grams protein/kg/day
Endurance Athlete Playing Several Hours Daily
1.2-1.7 grams protein/kg/day
Resistance Exercise Days
1.6-1.7 grams protein/kg/day
Now, take your weight in kilograms and multiply it by the number of protein grams you need based on who you are on the chart.
For example the calculation for a 52 year old recreational player who weighs 70 kilograms would be 1.2 x 70 = 84 grams of protein.
Day 12: Track how many grams of protein are in your food today.
This may be one of your more challenging challenges if you’ve never done it before, but only because it’s time consuming. Remember that protein is important for maintaining, building, and repairing muscles, which means it’s a good idea to evaluate your intake once in a while to see if you’re on track. Try not to make major changes so you get a genuine idea of what you normally get.
Today you’ll need to measure the amount of food you’re eating. You can get out your measuring cups and food scale if you have them. Although it won’t be as accurate, the Mayo Clinic offers simple portion guidelines if you would rather eyeball it.
Next you’ll need to calculate how much protein is in the food. You can make it easier on yourself by downloading a food tracking app that calculates protein content. An old favorite of mine is MyFitnessPal, which has a large food database. You can also use USDA’s FoodData Central. You may find that it’s tricky to get the measurements in the apps to match what you ate, but get as close as you can.
Add your protein grams up at the end of the day. Did you meet the recommended amount that you calculated yesterday?
*Make this a strength training day.
Day 13: Find three new recipes for next week, focusing on higher protein ingredients.
You can use the same recipe websites you used last week, but try plugging in your favorite lean, higher protein ingredients. Here are examples of higher protein foods:
- Fish like salmon, tuna, or sardines
- Poultry like chicken, turkey, or duck
- Beef like lean hamburger or steak
- Pork like ham or baked chops
- Dairy like milk, yogurt, kefir, or cottage chees
Vegan sources include:
- Legumes like beans, peas, lentils
- Nuts and nut butters like walnuts, almonds, and cashews
- Seeds like sunflower, chia, and pumpkin
- Other foods like quinoa
- Whole grains like wheat, barley, and brown rice
If you’re vegan, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a wide variety of high protein vegan foods to be sure you get all of the essential amino acids.
Day 14: Buy groceries for your new recipes.
Hit the grocery store on your way back from the pickleball court or order your food online.