Being a Division 1 athlete comes with a lot of high expectations. Among other things, you are expected to constantly improve your strength and conditioning level. Those athletes who are stronger and in better shape typically see their sport specific skills improve. That is why it is so important for their workouts to be effective and challenging. The effectiveness of your workout can be affected by so many things, like the time of day, your mood, what you ate, and much more. It can be a huge struggle finding the right foods to eat before a workout, or staying awake and alert during an early morning session; trust me I understand. That is why I want to provide you all with some personal insight on the matter. Here are 5 things you can do before and after your workouts in order to make them more effective.
1. Get more sleep
Sleeping more always sounds like such an obvious answer to performing better, but it is one of the hardest things to do. For people with busy schedules, athletes specifically, there sometimes are just not enough hours in the day. Setting aside enough time for sleep can be an afterthought that we tend to sweep under the rug. Sleep depravation slows down your reaction time, increasing your risk for injury. Catching more z’s will make you more alert during your workout and enable you to focus better. This task may be difficult for some, but if you commit to getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, you’ll see small but critical improvements in your workout.
2. Quench that thirst
Most athletes think it is enough to only drink water during a workout or practice, and they are so wrong. True hydration comes from drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before each workout, 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before your warm-up, 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout, and 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise. Staying hydrated loosens up your joints, gives you more energy, and decreases the chance of muscle fatigue or cramps. Every athlete can significantly make their workouts better with this simple liquid, so drink up!
3. Become friends with a foam roller
Foam rollers have become the saving grace for athletes all over the world. Using one of these at the begining and end of your workout can help with any soreness in your muscles and joints. Foam rolling can reduce any pain on your body, increase your blood flow, and improve your circulation. Along with foam rolling, you should be stretching before and after each workout. Stretch whatever feels tight, even stretching your feet can release a lot of tension in your body.
4. Take a pre-workout supplement
If you aren’t already, you should really consider taking a pre-workout supplement to improve the quality of your workouts. The main ingredient in these supplements is caffeine. Yup, the stuff that’s in coffee. Caffeine has been shown to be responsible for delaying fatigue during endurance activities, which is awesome for athletes. I like taking a pre-workout supplement because it increases my strength capacity and endurance during workouts. You should try it!
5. Refuel with protein
During a long and grueling workout, your muscles and fibers are being broken down, and after a workout, those muscles and fibers look to be repaired. Protein is a great way to replenish your body of everything it lost. There are a lot of options when it comes to protein, but the quickest and easiest one is to use protein powder. You can mix it with water, milk, or make a shake with it. If you consume some form of protein after every workout, your body will be able to recover and get you ready for the next workout.
All of these tips have helped me with improving my workouts, hopefully you can utilize them too!
SK’s Food Of The Day
If you think bananas are just for monkeys, think again. This yummy fruit helps prevent all kinds of things; like depression, fatigue, cramps, and swelling. Eat it by itself or slice it up and throw it in a smoothie. Whatever you do, just don’t slip on its peel!
Feeling inspired? Let me know what you think about this post in the comments section below!