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NFL Combine Nutrition Tips

Danielle LaFata

By Danielle LaFata, Nutrition Director for Pro/Elite Sports at EXOS

When it comes to training for the NFL scouting combine, much of the attention focuses on the 40-yard dash and 225-pound bench press. While the physical training is a key component, the nutrition side is equally important and often overshadowed. After all, proper fuel is essential to making the most out of rigorous training sessions. Plus, many players seek to gain or lose weight in the weeks leading up to the combine in Indianapolis while every player strives to go in with a leaner, more powerful physique to impress NFL officials both on the scale and during the workouts.

Shakes and smoothies are a key part of the pre-combine nutritional strategy to get an athlete the fuel needed to run at top speed. They're convenient and easy on the stomach. And smoothie recipes can easily be adjusted depending on whether your athletes are looking to gain, maintain, or lose weight. The sample recipe below provides a framework for creating smoothies for a quick and easy breakfast, for recovery after a tough training session, or for an evening snack. 

    HYDRATE with fluids:
        • 1 cup water + ice

    PROTECT with fat:
        • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed

    PREVENT with fruit & vegetables:
        • 1/2 cup pineapple (fresh, frozen, or canned packed in its own juice)
        • 1 cup strawberries (fresh, frozen, or canned packed in its own juice)
        • 1 cup fresh, raw spinach or kale

    BUILD with protein:
        • 2 scoops 100% whey protein (25-30 grams protein)

Calories: 300, Fat: 8g, Carbs: 30g, Fiber: 10g, Protein: 28g

Are your athletes looking to gain weight? Add 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseeds and an extra ½ cup of pineapple and strawberry. Instead of using water as the fluid/base, increase calories with 1%-2% milk, Greek yogurt, or coconut milk.  Since this is more of a tropical smoothie, coconut milk is an appropriate substitution and helpful for those looking to maintain or gain weight.

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