There's more to high performance sport than training for an event, turning up, and competing. Athletes, particularly in the modern era of professionalism, have so much to think about.
Eating healthily on a tight budget, keeping their finances in order, balancing a social life with an intense training programme, dealing with the media, keeping sponsors happy, handling the pressures of expectations of others, coping with long periods of time “on-the-road”, building functional relationships with coaches and teammates, keeping anti-doping whereabouts information up-to-date, and dealing with injury and other setbacks, are just some of the additional challenges faced by athletes. Add to that the everyday demands of human life, work and educational commitments, personal relationships and financial concerns, and the busy life of the athlete, become the hectic life of the person.
Given the demands that an athlete faces in his or her everyday life, it is unsurprising that lifestyle, career and welfare management is becoming a recognised support service for athletes. In many national performance programmes some form of lifestyle and personal development support features alongside the more traditional sports science services (strength and conditioning, nutrition, physiology and psychology). But you don't have to be an elite athlete to benefit from simple life planning. Time management, goal setting and coping skills can help athletes of all abilities to perform better both on and off the field.
You've heard it before and it bears repeating. Eating breakfast prepares you for the day. People who don't eat breakfast tend to eat more during the day to compensate. Avoid that with a light breakfast that consists of protein, whole grain and fruit.
If you're not a heavy eater in the morning, don't fret. You don't have to sit down to a full meal of pancakes, eggs, toast, bacon and coffee. You can begin getting your body used to eating breakfast by starting with orange juice. Then move up to orange juice and toast or a hard-boiled egg. By adding some substance to your morning routine, you're breaking your fast, stabilizing your blood sugar and starting your day off right.
t's so easy to overeat when you're dehydrated. When you're training throughout the week, don't just hydrate during your workouts. Drink water throughout the day to keep you hydrated so after your workouts it's pretty easy to replace what you've lost.
A great tip is to remember to stay consistent. If you drink water throughout the day, don't switch to the sugar-loaded energy drinks during your workout. While some of those drinks can help replace electrolytes, they also can be saturated with sugar. An effective compromise is diluting a Gatorade with about 1/2 to 2/3 of water. You'll stay hydrated and replace electrolytes too.