Every inch counts: How to increase your vertical jump – Part 2

Just in case you missed it. This is the second part of our blog series on how to increase your vertical jump. To give you some background me and my methodology, read Part 1 now. Then come back and read the rest of our story.

“Mom you are crazy. Mom you have lost it. Mom everyone else who asks you for vertical jumping improvement, you train them! WHY is my program different?”

I thought it was pretty simple. Radically cleaning up her diet, healthy but that of a typical teenager, which included fruity shakes, chips, snacks, sweets, ice cream and all of the sub-stellar school food I knew she would be eating for the next few months, would help. It would help lower inflammation, completely trim her up, and increase her energy by an unprecedented amount.

She was insubordinate, skeptical, and quite angry with me. She even went to her dad to hire a trainer or go take group jump training lessons. Thankfully he was smart enough to say no, too.

What we did 

Quite simply we minimized and eliminated any and all starchy sugary (except for sweet potatoes, beets, and jicama) and fruity carbs (with the exception of berries, dark grapes, and pomegranates) from her diet for 30 days. She was skeptical but she agreed. If I lost, I had to resort to developing a physical jump training program or pay for her to attend a class. I mastered planning ahead, shopping, and meal prep. Yes we still managed to eat out. Luckily, my daughter’s discipline and dedication to following rules (of any type, not just “mom’s experiment”) at any cost paid off.

We went to the gym, measured and recorded her starting vertical stats and off we went on her new diet escapade. Believe me….she initially got LOADS of flack and incessant teasing from her friends. But the girl didn’t waver. She saw college in her future and she held her ground. In my business as a nutrition expert and health concierge, I have very few clients who have such fierce determination to achieve their health goals.

So what was her plan? What did she eat?  Was it boring?

I included her in the process of choosing foods, food genres and menus that she liked and then worked to make them low carb.

Her food intake looked like this:

Sample 1

Breakfast:

  • 2 eggs boiled or scrambled or omelet style with:
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1-2 pieces of ham or turkey
  • Organic shredded cheese

Lunch:

  • Taco meat (either ground beef or turkey) seasoned with gluten free, sugar free seasonings
  • Lettuce for wraps
  • Homemade salsa
  • Wholly guacamole packet

Snack:

  • Handful of nuts and some grapes

Dinner:

  • Grilled or baked chicken
  • 1-2 cups steamed veggies – she loves zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli and cauliflower drizzled with EVOO

Sample 2

Breakfast:

  • Shake with:
    • 1-2 scoops organic whey or vegan based no sugar protein powder
    • 2 tbs coconut oil
    • ½ avocado
    • ½ cup berries
    • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

Lunch:

  • Stir Fry leftovers from night before:
    • Chicken
    • Diced zucchini, squash, broccoli, green beans
    • Riced cauliflower
    • Drizzled with sesame oil, coconut aminos, fish sauce

Snack: Wholly guacamole packet with jicama

Dinner:

  • Sweet potato with organic uncured sausage
  • Side salad with loads of veggies and oil and vinegar dressing

A few examples of what she ate when we or her team went out:

  • Fajitas with no chips or tortillas.
  • Grilled chicken, fish or steak with steamed veggies
  • Brisket with green beans and a side salad

The concept is pretty simple. We got away from “mixture type meals” like casseroles or anything like that. I learned to shop, prep, cook and make ahead a few dishes each week that we could pre-portion for her to take to school for lunch or for quick meals prior to practices. I searched out the best “clean” and carb free recipes and brands ( not to be confused with gluten free) and snack size portions to keep us going. What started as a labor of love for her and what seemed at the time like a lot of work for me (initially) became a lifestyle. We were able to keep it up all season and into the club season when life is truly chaotic!  To give some perspective, we live 1.5 hours from the city where club practices and tournaments are held (not to mention about 25 minutes from a grocery store – I HAD TO PLAN AHEAD!)

We managed and managed well. BUT, the real question is:

How did my daughter’s vertical come out?

She gained 4 inches in 4 weeks much to her dismay in her attempt to prove me wrong. She also lost about 8 pounds of fat and her energy level went through the roof (not to mention the fact that it was also the first season she did not get sick during preseason and two-a-days).

It is amazing to think that the power of a few too many starchy carbs can hurt your sport performance. By training we normally increase carb consumption for long-term endurance type sports (my daughters school and club teams ran a 5-1 with her as a setter; she never came off the court for 7 years of playing, which included those first 4-5 years when team passing was less than stellar. In other words, she had to run A LOT!)

SO the next time someone asks me to improve their performance or jump-ability….you guess it. We will start with diet.

For more details on her diet, specific menu, 6-week meal plan and shopping guide, click here.

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