Young athletes often try special diets and supplements to improve their athletic performance. However, many of these products do not live up to their claims to increase strength, speed, and athletic skills. Athletes should focus instead on following the basics of proper hydration and nutrition. Both are crucial in supporting growth and athletic performance. The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about proper nutrition and supplement use.

Athletes can lose body fluids very rapidly, so they must make sure they are always well hydrated. Thirst is not a good gauge of fluid needs, and waiting until thirsty to drink can decrease athletic performance. The following are tips on how to maintain appropriate fluid intake:

Carbohydrates contain the fuel the body needs to perform and also protect muscle tissue from breaking down. Athletes should have a carbohydrate-rich meal 3 to 4 hours before exercise and a high-carbohydrate snack...

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