Another school year is upon us, and that means it’s time for a fresh start. New notebooks, new shoes, new schedules and, best of all, new mindsets … they’re all part of the receipe for success. Just as a student needs to prepare for the academic rigors of the coming year, so must an athlete plan and train for the hard work and competition that lie ahead.
Where should I be in my preparation schedule?
Fall Sports. You are in the in-season mode. Your equipment should be properly fitted and your physical check -up completed. Most importantly, your nutrition and workout habits should already be in place and observed daily.
Winter Sports. You are in the near in-season mode. You should be finetuning your nutrition habits and increasing your workout intensity. General conditioning with some skill-specific exercises will help you to be ready later this year.
Spring Sports. You are in the off-season mode. It’s a good time to experiment nutritionally to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. General conditioning is good, but it’s even better to try a sport outside of your regular routine to reap the benefits of cross training.
What SHOULD I be eating?
- Eggs, fruit & whole grain toast
- Egg muffins
- Greek yogurt and granola
- Overnight oats
- Protein shakes
- Apple & peanut butter
- Berries and granola
- Protein bar
- Rice cake with pico or guacamole
- Trail mix
- Fresh veggies with yogurt ranch dip
- Rice and Beans
- Salad with protein
- Whole grain bread with turkey, roast or ham
What should I NOT be eating?
- Baked goods (brownies, cakes, cookies, etc.)
- Fried foods (French fries, chicken nuggets, beignets, etc.)
- Full fat dairy products (butter, cheese, ice cream, whole milk, etc.)
- Fatty condiments (creamy salad dressing, mayonnaise, etc.)
- Sugary beverages (energy drinks, juice, soft drinks, etc.)
When packing food on the go, use an insulated bag with ice packs or frozen bottles of water that are sure to come in handy later in the day. Remember to hydrate often and maintain your electrolytes through foods like bananas and avocados (potassium), potatoes (phosphorus), yogurt (calcium), olives and pickles (sodium) and nuts and seeds (magnesium).
How do I make time for training?
School comes first. If you’re not performing at full capacity academically, you can’t perform at full capacity athletically. Many school athletic programs require a minimum GPA to participate in a sport. So, it’s in your best interest to stay on top of your grades.
Maximize your day by using any extra time at school to get homework done. When your afternoon is open, grab a snack once you get home and hit the books. You’ll be glad to have some chill time in the evening. When you have activities after school, schedule a block of time to do your homework and stick to it. Better yet, invest in a planner and create a weekly schedule every Sunday using colored pens for each activity.
How can I avoid feeling stressed about my busy schedule?
Be prepared. Mental readiness is one of the best ways to keep your stress levels to a minimum. Take a few minutes every night to prepare for the next day by putting out your clothes, making your lunch and packing up your gear so everything is completely ready in the morning.
Journaling and reading. Whether you’re recording your thoughts or losing yourself in the thoughts of another, words have great power. Chosen correctly, they can help us to unburden our minds by expressing our innermost feelings. They can also help us to escape the distractions of daily life by carrying us away from our realities.
Stretching. Because it reduces muscle tension, stretching is directly associated with a decrease in pain. Relieving the pain then triggers the release of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) to stabilize our mood, staving off depression and anxiety.
Sleep. If all else fails … sleep. When you don’t get enough rest, the body releases extra cortisol (the stress hormone) resulting in an increased heart rate as though you’re in a fight or flight mode. So put the phone down and hit the hay.
When should I begin?
How about NOW? Contact Coach Sarah Stack at email@example.com or (504) 885-8994 to help you get started.