No matter what sport you play, the body breaks down every day during the season. Recovery and preparation are far too overlooked in an athlete’s regimen. The idea of “more is better” while in-season should not be the focus unless you are going 100% in practice and in games. Far too many athletes are breaking their bodies down due to lack of recovery and preparation. This causes injuries and decreased performance. You must give yourself a chance to be great by taking care of your body.
Follow me as I discuss some tips I’ve learned over the years which come from my own personal experience as well as some of the world’s leaders in sports medicine and strength and conditioning. This 3 part series will help you keep your body strong for game day.
Athletes must understand that even at a young age their bodies still must recover from early mornings, long school day, practices, and games. You read a lot about how sleep is needed for muscle repair, which is true. However, and more importantly, the nervous system needs to recover in order to optimally fire muscles.
Muscles are dumb. They do not function without the nervous system. This means lack of sleep and poor nutrition will make you weaker, slower, and less alert during games. You must make a choice: watch TV and stay awake looking at social media or rest your body and recover in order to dominate your sport the next day.
Feed your body! Do not miss breakfast. I cannot tell you how many times we hear athletes telling us that they miss breakfast. It’s never easy waking up in the morning. Set your clock 15 minutes early to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, eggs, bagel, bacon, oatmeal with fruit, or a protein shake. Stay away from pop tarts, cereals with lots of sugar, protein bars, and granola bars. Eat REAL food! Throughout the day try to snack on fruits such as pears, apples, bananas, grapes. Other healthy alternatives are peanut butter, almonds, peanuts, and carrots which will all keep you fueled all day long.
Athletes are not like other people. They must pay more attention to the details like sleeping well and eating the right foods. Otherwise, athletic performance suffers and injuries occur. Your body is the ultimate machine and you must take care of it as such.
Stay tuned for part 2; of Giving Yourself a Chance to be Great. We will discuss how preparing your body before practice and games can help limit injury and improve your performance.
Robert DiDonato: BS, CSCS, MATCSCo-Owner, Director of Strength and Condtioning of MYOCORTEX Human Performance Systems.www.myocortex.com