While the COVID-19 crisis has changed safety measures for recreational, college and high school sports, many athletes still expect to hit the fields, courts and trails this fall. For those who do, the secrets of success are still very much the same, from building consistency to maintaining a proper diet.
Here are five of our favorite training and lifestyle tips for aspiring student athletes.
YOU CAN’T OUT-TRAIN POOR DIETING
They don’t call it the Freshman 15 for nothing!
Too much fast food, junk food or sugary drinks won’t just pack on the calories, but they’ll also prevent you from getting the nutrients that you really need on a day-to-day basis. Your metabolism may be able to fight off bad habits in the short term, but the long-lasting impact of poor dieting can last a lifetime.
In short, enjoy the freedom to choose at the cafeteria now, but understand that each decision you make has consequences.
MORE ISN’T BETTER
Just like anything in life, too much of a good thing isn’t really a good thing.
Like to lift weights? Great. Lifting weights for an hour a day for a week straight? Not the best idea.
Do you enjoy running? Fantastic. Are you running six miles a day for a week straight? You better be training for a marathon, and even so, marathon training involves a rest day here and there.
In fact, the more you do, the greater the risk of injury or deterring your ultimate objective because you’re too fatigued to reach it.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST
You know what they say about 8 hours of sleep. But, did you also know that nighttime is when your body produces all the hormones that allow your muscles to grow, and when you neurologically engrave all the new motor patterns that were developed at practice?
So, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re neglecting one big part of practice. You don’t really want to do that!
Also, not sleeping during the week only to crash on weekends is not a good idea.
IT’S ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY
Young athletes are gifted with an enviable metabolism and the ability to bounce back from just about anything. But, if you really want to show improvements and excellence, you’re going to want to put in work on a daily basis.
Whether or not you believe Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-Hour Rule on mastering your craft, practice makes perfect has also stood the test of time.
MIX IT UP
Are you a football player looking for more mobility on the field? Try taking a yoga or barre class. A cross-country runner looking to hit a new PR? What about lifting weights? A soccer goalie looking to improve your own personal focus? Golf just might be the mental activity that you need to get over the hump.
Trying new things isn’t just good for you. Those skills translate from one sport to another, creating a more versatile overall athlete.