Staying active is an important part of every student’s routine, but athletes should take special care to maintain health and fitness over summer break. Sticking to an intentional workout plan can help prevent injuries or setbacks in the upcoming season, and it’s a great way to try new activities or improve key performance areas.
Read on for everything you need to know about staying in shape over the summer for college athletes.
What to Consider before Working Out over School Break
Regular athletic training and exercise keeps you in shape and ready for the next big game, but you don’t necessarily have to continue a strict fitness routine over summer break. In fact, easing off intense workouts during this time might be the better option for your well-being as a student athlete:
- There are risks. Summer heat introduces a whole host of new challenges like heat sickness and dehydration. It’s also easier to push yourself too hard and get an injury when you’re exercising without your coach or teammates setting a reasonable pace. If you’re not careful, you could spend the first months back to school in physical therapy instead of on the field or court.
- Burnout is possible. Student athlete burnout is a very real phenomenon, and experts have linked it with overuse injuries like tendinitis and muscle strains. It can also do a number on your mental health and ultimately keep you from reaching your goals. Taking a brief exercise break is one way to combat this.
- You’ll have less time than you think. Summer is a busy time for students. Many use the break in classes to tackle other responsibilities, like summer jobs, clubs, family vacations, or summer classes.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Fitness Routine as a Student Athlete
Although there are certainly a few things to consider before diving straight into your summer exercise program, it’s important to maintain some level of fitness during your time off.
- It’s good for you. Regular exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight, boosting energy and moods, and even combatting some diseases. Keeping your body agile and strong during the summer is also critical for preventing injuries when the season returns.
- You’ll perform better. The more you stay on top of your fitness abilities, the better you’ll perform when games and practices return. Neglecting your physical health for months at a time can keep you from meeting your performance goals.
You can learn new skills. Summer is the perfect time to work on skills you don’t have time to perfect during your busy school year. Target new muscle groups, learn a new active hobby, and use this time to get as creative as you want. The most important elements of a summer athletic training schedule are staying consistent and having fun—but finding the right balance takes practice.
How to Balance Athletic Training during Summer Break
Student athletes have a lot on their plate during the school year. Easing off intense fitness regimes for a few months is perfectly reasonable, especially if you’ve got other responsibilities. That said, stopping your workouts entirely could be detrimental. The key to staying in shape over the summer for college athletes is finding balance.
Create a Schedule
How often you schedule training sessions depends entirely on the time you have and your physical goals, but aim for multiple days per week.
Create an exercise schedule, then stick to it—within reason. One of the most important elements of a schedule is having enough padding in your plans to account for injuries and rest days.
Follow the Fun
Make your summertime athletic training a fun experience! Working out doesn’t mean you’re confined to the gym. Find new ways to move your body and build strength and agility. You might even discover that by switching to a new form of exercise, you can better target specific areas of your body.
Ask a Friend to Join
Working out with a friend is a good way to keep each other accountable, and it’s nice to have someone to talk to. You could even turn it into a competition.
For example, your outdoor workouts could include a group of your closest friends competing in a summer fitness challenge on a nearby hiking trail or at the beach.
Summer Training for Student Athletes
Young athletes can optimize summer fitness by establishing fitness goals and designing a training program to meet them.
For example, consider working with an athletic trainer to help determine the best agility drills and other agility-building activities for your summer fitness plan or getting a head start on preseason drills. Coaching a summer youth sports team is a great way to pass skills on to the upcoming generation while still engaging in strength-building activities.
You could also consider joining an intramural sport, one of the best endurance-building activities to get involved in over summer.
Tips for Staying Safe during the Summer Months
You should always approach physical activity with care, but it’s especially important during hot summer months. Follow these tips to stay healthy and performing at your best:
- Regulate your temperature. Take plenty of breaks, stay hydrated, and avoid working out during the hottest parts of the day.
- Always wear sunscreen. Sun exposure can lead to premature skin aging, sunburn, and even skin cancer. Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
- Don’t overwork yourself. Stop your workout and take time to heal or rest when you’ve reached your edge. Be sure to fill your schedule with plenty of fun and relaxing activities, too—it’s summer vacation, after all!
Level Up Your Summer Workout
Staying in shape over the summer for college athletes may not always be easy, but is usually always worth it. Maintaining a safe summer exercise routine will keep you in shape and ready to dominate next year’s season. Level up your performance with some help from Six Star. Shop pro nutrition today and start maximizing your results!