Monday, August 10, 2015

5 Tips For In-Season Athletes (Part 1)

I often get asked, "What steps should I take during this upcoming season to stay healthy and make sure I perform at my best?".

Staying healthy, performing at your max potential, and keeping energy/strength during a sport season are qualities everybody strives to perfect, but few truly utilize.

During a season athletes get beat-up, worn-down, lose strength, and lose the conditioning they gained during the off-season. It’s natural considering the stress athletes are under on and off the field. In high school/college these kids are under athletic, academic, and social stresses that can add up quickly if not taken care of.

Professional athletes on the other hand have just about every resource you can think of at their finger tips, so they will be able to do things above and beyond what a college or high school kid could do. 

Things like athletic training, physio, massage, nutrition/supplements, strength and conditioning, and financial advantages are all tools professional athletes have that for the most part are limited in most other athletes.

So I’m going to give you a guide to give you the tools and knowledge that are attainable so you can stay as close to your maximum ability during the season. 

Now I don’t think these are hard to follow, but they will take some discipline and sacrifice on your part. I would expect anyone that is serious about their sport would easily take these tips to heart and be able to perform them. 

1. Sleep 

Let me keep it simple so you can check out our great YouTube Video on sleep.

  • Sleep effects recovery, performance, immune system, motor learning, strength, speed, reaction time, coordination, accuracy, etc
  • Lack of sleep decreases testosterone, decreases recovery, decrease  mood, increases metabolic stress, etc. 
  • Shoot for 8+ hours a night, PLUS DAILY NAPS!
  • Get to bed before 11am every night
  • Develop a nightly routine

2. Diet/Nutrition

This is another obvious factor that we need to make sure is in check during the season. What we put in our body and how we nourish it is going to go a long ways in optimal performance.

A simplified analogy that I like is that your body is like a car, and your diet is your fuel. You need to make sure you are putting in top of line fuel in order to run at your peak, and if you are putting in crap you will run like crap.

Without going to go into a specific diet or anything like that, but we all know what quality foods are, and what poor foods are. Your diet should be full of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, quality cuts of meat, and dairy (eggs, cottage cheese, greek yogurt). It’s not that hard to know eating highly processed food, junk foods is not going to keep you operating to your best.

A priority that needs to made is making sure you are getting adequate amounts of protein during the season. A good rule of thumb is to get at least your body weight in grams protein.

So if you weight 180lbs you should be getting 180g of protein.

Secondly, it is important to get quality carbs in your body so we keep glycogen stores where we want them. This means the majority of your carb intake is coming from a variety of fruits and vegetables. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel you'll use during tough practices and games, so don't be afraid to eat more starchy carbs like sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal, and granola as well.

In this same category comes hydration. When I talk about hydration I’m talking about water, not soda, fruit juices, energy drinks, Gatorade, Powerade, milk, or coffee/tea. You need to drink water whenever possible, leave the Gatorades and Powerades for especially strenuous workouts, games, or very hot/humid days.  The rest of the time these drinks are not warranted and just add excess sugar and calories.   

There is no clear recommendation as a lot of things like body weight, body composition, age, gender, physical activity levels, etc - not to mention there is NO scientific evidence to support the recommended 8 glasses of water per day, it is plain wrong! 

Instead let thirst be your guide.  Drink when you're thirsty, it's as easy as that.  Your body is lot smarter than you think and it will tell you when it needs hydration.  

Finally, when talking about nutrition and diet, supplementation always pops up. So I will give you 3 that I would recommend. I'm not saying you need these but they are the most beneficial given a restricted budget.

  1. Greens Supplement- A greens supplement allows you to get your daily allowance of fruits and vegetables in a single glass. It is also like a super multi-vitamin packing a full punch of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and extracts to keep your body clean as a whistle. I would recommend amazing grass superfood. It is only about $25-30 dollars a month if you get on a regular purchasing schedule.

(Photo Credit -
       2.  Creatine monohydrate- Creatine might be the most studied/research supplement of all-time, and the results are all the same, it works. No creatine will not cause cramps, it is not a steroid, it will not shrink your balls, it will not turn a women into a man, it will not make you lose all your ligaments and cartilage; so get over all those myths. It has been proven to increase gains from strength training, promotes faster recovery, decreases body fat, and increases lean muscle mass. So don’t be afraid of this supplement, and take advantage of the benefits.

       3.  Whey Protein - Whey protein is the ultimate post recovery resource. Whey gets into the muscles the faster and starts protein synthesis faster than any other source of protein. I also find it very convenient and easy for on the go, which is great for busy individuals.

Alrighty, those are my first two tips to make sure you all good to go during that long season. So start getting these two things in check and you'll see some big changes.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I give you the rest of the 5 keys. 

Go Get 'Em!

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