One big mistake I made in college was not having a solid sleep schedule. I frequently stayed up to study and get projects done. I took some good naps in Lincoln Hall, but you can’t replace a good night’s sleep with naps. Getting enough sleep is huge for metabolism, blood sugar control, immune function and injury recovery, not to mention the psychological aspects of fatigue!
Will this impair his performance?
Did you know that dehydration impairs performance? One of the most frequent questions I’m asked when lecturing is quote what supplements can I take to enhance my performance? I’ll address the answer to that question specifically in another post but first I’d like to point out that there is not a supplement you can take that will increase your performance in any sport as significantly as the performance improvements gained from proper hydration. You could be spending $100 a month on top of the line supplements but if you’re cutting weight and training half of the week in a dehydrated state you’d be far better off using water and training fully hydrated for as much of the week as possible. Not only will training in a hydrated state improve your performance but it will also improve your immune function, increase your metabolism, and enhance your ability to recover from strenuous exercise.
Not sure whether or not you’re hydrated? A good start is to take a look at your urine, if it’s clear or very light in color there’s a good chance that you’re well hydrated . Might as well get used to doing this anyway because as unglorious as this task is, you’re going to need to have some idea of what your urine says about your hydration if you want to be able to successfully pass the mandated hydration test. For the vast majority of people including athletes the best fluid to rehydrate with his water. I’m not saying there’s no place for sports drinks but from day to day and week to week your efforts at hydration should be focused on drinking water frequently throughout the day. Interestingly some research suggests the best way to rehydrate after dehydration is to drink plenty of water combined with a salty meal. This may be more effective for rehydration than sports drinks and a well planned meal can help prevent the blood sugar fluctuations that can sometimes occur following intake of the large amount of sugar in many sports drinks contain.
There aren’t many supplements that can truly be touted as performance enhancers. Sure caffeine, a good quality protein supplement, fish oil, and a few others may give you a slight nutritional edge. In spite of this fact, people spend lots of money on supplementing a diet that could much more easily the improved by getting rid of performance detriments. The most profound of these performance degraders is probably soda. Soda is addictive and wreaks havoc on your body from your tooth enamel to your pancreas. Use this offseason to retrain your taste buds and start drinking water instead of soda. You’ll improve your performance, make it easier to manage your weight, and have made a long term improvement in your overall health!
For most people, a few simple decisions can have a tremendous impact on their diet. The idea is that one choice may be central and cohesive in it’s effect on other decisions. For example, not drinking enough water during the day might have a linchpin effect on your diet by making you feeling fatigued during the day, affect your training and mistaking thirst for hunger. It represents a potentially simple change that could lead to a series of other positive changes with minimal effort.
The off season is a great time to try and identify the linchpins in your diet and lifestyle. A simple, painless change made long before season could lead to substantially better training and nutrition by the time next season rolls around.
A great way to start identifying a nutritional linchpin is by keeping a food diary for a week. At the end of the week, review it and see what precipitated the poor choices in your diet. Was is lack of planning and preparing healthy choices? Confusion about making healthy choices? Not eating enough during the day? A slight change now may pay dividends next season by improving your ability to train and helping you to stay closer to your goal weight.
Being a coach is tremendous opportunity to impact lives, build relationships and prepare athletes for their future lives. One opportunity to teach that is unique to coaching wrestling is the importance of proper nutrition education in our sport. Unlike most other high school sports, the weight control aspects of wrestling present an opportunity to teach healthy lifestyle choices to last a lifetime as well as an obligation to keep athletes safe and healthy. Many coaches don’t feel adequately prepared for this great responsibility, and we are here to help.
Check out this article on the impact of coaches and contact me for more information on nutrition education for coaches, athletes and parents.
Well, season is almost over. Don’t accelerate is completion by getting sick. The biggest modifiable risk factors are sleep, good nutrition, stress reduction and hand washing.
You should be getting at least 8hrs of sleep EVERY night. If you can’t get that in once in a great while, patch it with a nap. Your body needs sleep to recover from training, form memories, and keep up healthy metabolism.
Also, don’t underestimate the impact of stress on immune system function. Mediate stress with prayer, meditation, acupuncture or massage. Check out the app at headspace.com if you’re new to meditation for a free 10 sessions.
Next, make sure to be washing your had often throughout the day and before eating. This simple change can result in up to a 40% reduction in upper respiratory infections!
Lastly, ramp up your intake of fruits, vegetables and vitamin A rich meats (like organ meats) or cod liver oil. Eat plenty of fermented foods like yogurt, Kiefer, and sour kraut. Get vitamin D from sun, cod liver oil (only some) or a supplement, but be sure to get a reputable brand (check out my last post).
Here’s a helpful infographic from precision nutrition…
Good luck and finish strong!