Athletics are a prominent and important part of Ponoka and play a positive role in the youth of the community.
Ponoka boasts of many athletes in a large variety of sports and is taking steps to provide these athletes with essential information to help improve their health and performance level.
Alberta Sport Development Centre, based out of Red Deer, hosted a Fuel for Athletes nutrition information night at Ponoka Composite High School on April 9.
Guest speakers Sharon Hamilton and Trevor Keeper worked as an effective team to educate approximately 40 people who came to the nutrition information session.
Hamilton believes that Fuel for Athletes is important to help give athletes, as well as all members of the community the information they need to enhance their energy level and stamina during a game, practice or exercise.
“The age of the population you are addressing does not matter,” said Hamilton. “It’s always amazing to see how little people know about general nutrition. It’s good for them to find out what’s true and what’s not true about nutrition. There are a lot of issues with health and nutrition in our society and epidemic obesity continues to be an issue so it’s a positive thing for the community to have access to this information.”
Hamilton kicked off the session with a general overview of nutrition and gave information on carbohydrates, good quality proteins and not so good proteins as well as good and bad fats.
Hamilton also touched on good sources of protein, Omega 3 fats and the importance of avoiding refined grains and sugars.
Hamilton shed light on the Glycemic Index, what it was about and the importance of eating foods with a low GI and including it as part of healthy eating.
Keeper built on the information given by Hamilton and spoke specifically on daily nutritional needs for athletes.
Keeper focused on daily total food energy about how to find out the amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat an athlete needs based on body weight as well as the need for iron and calcium.
Keeper looked at pre-exercise nutritional needs stressing the importance of eating food high in carbohydrates and avoiding foods high in sugar, protein and fat.
Meal timings and fluids were also brought to attention and advice about the optimum time to eat and drink before a game was shared.
Paula Chapman athletic director at PCHS was pleased with the showed interest at the session and believes it was beneficial to all who attended.
“The turnout was impressive for having this for the first time,” said Chapman. “We have a really strong athletic core in Ponoka but I don’t know if we always have access to the information that the larger cities have and it’s good to bring that information into our community.”
Julie Pound a representative from ASDC recognized this Fuel for Athletes session as a positive step in the direction of reaching their goal.
“ASDC is a not-for-profit organization founded by the Alberta Government to serve Central Alberta,” said Pound. “Our goal is to go out into the smaller communities and help serve athletes and coaches that need the information and can’t necessarily get to it. Our goal is to get our services out to all the communities because it will benefit athletes and coaches on all levels.”
The success of this session has sparked the idea of having a class for athletes about once a month. The next proposed session is still in the works but it is hoped that the topic will focus on the mental aspect of athletics.