There are many factors that can affect your athletic performance. One of the biggest is your diet and nutrition. Athletes have needs and food requirements that are different from the average person. Usually this means an increase in nutrients, protein and carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals. Many athletes do not realize the added benefit of having proper diet and nutrition because they eat junk food and seem to be functioning properly. However according to Linda Vorvick, MD of the University of Washington School of Medicine there is a direct correlation between nutrition and athletic performance. Some of the benefits of proper diet and nutrition include; decreased recovery time from workouts, increased energy, decrease in muscle loss during the sports season, increased stamina, a decrease in percent body fat, improved health, and can help prevent injuries because your muscles and body is better fed. You as an athlete can start by doing what is called clean eating. This is just the start of making your diet a little bit better by eating whole natural foods and cutting out junk like processed sugars, hydrogenated and trans fats, and carbohydrates that slow down your metabolism and other preservatives that do nothing but hurt your body. Doing this alone will help you see changes in your body and in your performance, however the real difference will come while you eat now in the offseason to help you grow your body into the athlete you and your coach wish you to become.Protein when working out is usually what you hear being talked about the most. It is what bodybuilders talk about and most trainers you will see in gyms talk about. Protein is essential for growth and recovery and maintenance of muscles. Some good clean sources of protein are:

• 85-95% Lean ground beef, turkey, ham

• Beans & peas

• Skinless, grilled, baked, roasted  chicken or turkey breast

• Seafood-steamed, boiled, baked or grilled

• Low-fat cottage cheese

• Cheese-2% or skim

• Milk-Skim or 2%

• White-tuna in water

• Trimmed  steaks, lamb, pork chop

• Nuts or seeds

• Eggs or egg beaters

• Low-fat yogurt

• Turkey bacon or sausage

 Athletes typically will require more protein than the average person. Here is the breakdown of protein requirements

Athletes:1-2 grams per KG of lean body mass

Regular People:0.5-0.8 grams per KG of lean body mass

But how do you find your lean body mass? You take your full body weight and multiply that by your percent body fat to find out your fat mass or how much of your bodyweight is fat. And subtract that number from your full bodyweight to find your lean body mass. For example a 260 lb defensive lineman with 15% bodyfat would enter 260x.15=39 and then take 260-39=221. 221 lbs would be his lean body mass in lbs and you would divide by 2.2 to figure out Kilograms. From there you would be able to figure out nutrient requirements from the statistics you are being given.