How to Kick Off this Season and be the Best Athlete You Can Be!
When looking at the complete, competitive athlete we need to look beyond the talent & effort and think about how their diet plays into their performance, recovery and inflammation. There is hidden inflammation within everyone and when your immune system is trying to heal that, it is at odds with healing workout and injury related inflammation.
A Functional Nutrition approach to this looks at all the bodies systems, diet and lifestyle and how they affect each other and the athlete. Below are nutrition, recovery and lifestyle changes you can make today to be a better and healthier athlete. These are just one part of our 12 week program for athletes!
Start Running & Working Out Now!
If your season has not started yet, you should set in motion a plan prior to the season to start running and stretching on a daily basis. Most coaches have an expectation that you are training year round and start the season off running. Even just light running and sprint work will better prepare your bodies for the hard work or pre-season. If you do not have access to a gym then a simple body weight workout will better prepare you! Here is a simple program to get you started - click here
Daily Muscle Massage & Stretching
Muscles are made of up many fibers that expand, contract and slide within each other. An adhesion occurs whey those muscle fibers stick to each other due to many reasons. These stuck muscles can then easily become a pull or tear. You should get in the habit of massaging one or two muscle groups each day. One day you can do legs from hips to feet. One day arms, one day neck and back etc. You can use rollers, a lacrosse ball or some kind of therapy gun. Keep them where you have your down time and make it a daily habit. My thera-gun is by the TV I watch at night! Make sure to add in some simple stretching daily as well!
Water is crucial to every system in your body. If you are dehydrated you will not perform to your best! You need to be drinking water all day whether you feel thirsty or not!
Your body needs a minimum of 64 ounces a day, before adding in your hydration needs for activity and weather. If you have a game or practice you should be drinking at least 32-64 more ounces in and around that session depending on temperature and intensity. Upon waking up, drinking 16 ounces will help kick off your brain and digestive system as well as all your body's systems. The best way to get your body's daily 64 ounce needs is to get a 64oz or 2x32oz container (I use a half gallon mason jar), fill it up in the morning with good, clean water, add some fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. If it is sitting on your desk or in your backpack, you will drink it by the end of the day. Plus you do not have to keep track of how many glasses you have had that day!
If you do not have the time for a good breakfast then a good shake/smoothie will set you up for success and recovery from your training the day before. Whether it is a good protein shake like Orgain or a smoothie of low sugar almond/coconut milk yogurt, almond milk and fruit you can’t go wrong. Plus it counts towards your daily hydration! Click here for my morning shake recipe
A bagel or sugary cereal does not make a good breakfast. Don’t ever leave home hungry but you should be including eggs, fruit, or whole grains. If not then go the smoothie route!
One last note on smoothies and shakes. Make sure to chew as you drink to release digestive enzymes. Sounds crazy but trust me!
Do you have a sugar addiction? The world health organization recommends keeping sugar intake to below 25 grams per day. I shoot for 20 or less. This includes any added sugars in food as well as in juices. This does not mean you should replace it with artificial sweeteners. Keep track for one day how much sugar you eat and you are probably up around 150 grams. Join one of our programs to get a detox plan as part of our overall If you need to get in your sugar fix, do it right before a game or practice! This way you will burn the sugar you consume!
When one thinks of carbo loading they think about pasta and bread the night before a game. While in moderation it is beneficial you should also be looking at a much more balanced diet over all and pre-game. Fruits and vegetables are full of carbs. Choose whole grain breads over white and wheat. If you want pasta the night before a game then eat half the amount of chosen pasta but add in meatballs and veggies like broccoli, spinach or arugula! Just look for balance. My favorite pasta is Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice pasta. That is a great substitute for wheat pasta.
Side note: I did Ironman Lake Placid in 1999 without a pasta dinner the night before.
I am sure you hear this from everyone, but get enough sleep. Your body needs to recover and this is when it mostly happens. Plan ahead with work and school so that you are not staying up late catching up every night. Use weekends to catch up or start work for the week ahead!
Absolutely FREE Functional Nutrition & Training Assessment - For athletes and adults! Take our free 5 minute assessment and Rob Walters will get back to you within 24 hours with his assessment and plan for you! Click here to get started