Do you want to know how to prevent injury so that you can reach peak performance in the playoffs?
If yes, keep reading because I’m about to provide you with valuable information that I wish I had known before.
What is Gelatin:
Think of collagen as the GLUE that holds us together – ligament to bone, muscle to skin…. Collagen is made up of some of the same materials we eat in our protein-rich foods which, in technical speak, are called amino acids. Companies sell collagen look-alike products that mix easily with water, but you will also see professionals talk about gelatin as an option to build up collagen. YES it’s the same gelatin that ends up in Jell-O!
Like with creatine, there are several food sources naturally high in the building blocks of collagen like bone broth, meat, fish, and egg whites, however they will all be animal products. Vegan athletes will need to supplement to get high sources of collagen building blocks in a quick digesting format.
Consume gelatin to build collagen and help make tendons, bones and muscles stronger.
Why Gelatin would be helpful to a teen athlete:
Teens that are injured are rebuilding bone, reinforcing muscle-tendon-ligament connections and will often heal faster when they do physiotherapy. Research shows a promising effect of introducing a gelatin supplement 1 hour prior to that physio session. Getting back to the game faster may be the result… more research will confirm this 100%. But this is one of those rare instances when we at Eat This for Performance are saying you could test this supplement out if you are injured.
The issue with relying on getting the collagen building blocks from your diet is that it is hard to get those ingredients into the area around tendons and ligaments in the volume high enough in time for a physio session. The amount of collagen building materials found in food is often lower than supplements and timing of digesting these foods is often longer than 1-2 hours.
Healthy, uninjured athletes may want to use a collagen or gelatin supplement. To them we say, make sure your diet is on track first and you have mastered what it means to eat for performance, then explore this as a daily regimen.
Curious to learn more? Learn how to use Gelatin inside the 4P Sports Nutrition School!
PRO TIP: An easy way to get collagen in your diet is to consume gelatin, often found in Jell-O, 1 hour before functional training. It’s easy and only requires two ingredients: Gelatin and Vitamin C rich juice.
What to watch out for:
Little research has been done on adolescent athletes, however supplementing with gelatin and collagen appears to be low risk! Make sure you consider what you are mixing your gelatin or collagen as adding in vitamin C may be helpful here to get the most benefit.
Try this delicious recipe for gelatin gummies!
As you head into this high demand period in winter sports, we invite you to use the 4P Performance Food Guide. It will make sure you are eating for performance, and will be fully prepared to take on the competition!
Resources for further reading
Studies on collagen supplementation