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Tips from the Trainers


The beginning of each month gives us an opportunity to start on new goals. If you made resolutions on New Years to start on the new and improved you, the beginning of each month gives us a starting point if we haven’t been too successful in the prior months. Student-athletes are the types of people who are always striving to improve themselves. Here are a few suggestions to hopefully getting you started on improving yourself or to jump start any resolutions you have previously made.
1.    Go All In! – The less commitment you have to something you want to achieve, the less chance you have of being successful.
2.    Make a Plan to get you from where you are to where you want to go.  If it is just eating better, try making out your menu plan for the week and get to the grocery store with your parents. Having the foods on hand at home makes thing easier to prepare and knowing what you are going to eat eliminates the guesswork.
3.    Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and work alongside other teammates to help keep you accountable. Check in with your coach, strength coach, athletic trainer or our Nutritionist to keep you on the right path. If you are in a team sport, making the team better everyday should be a common goal for all involved.
4.    Surround yourself with the right people – everyone generally knows that this is important, but you need to ask yourself “are the people you are spending the most time with helping or encouraging you to be successful with your plan?These are just a few suggestions, but if you are following suggestion number one, that one suggestion will help you fulfill your resolution. Good Luck and get to it!
 In High School sports, December is “Tournament Time”. These events bring special challenges especially with nutrition. Without a good plan for how and when you will be able to refuel and rehydrate, you could be steering towards an energy and performance disaster. I have collected some tips from a colleague, Chris Phillips ATC, CSCS, who has worked with Professional Hockey and Soccer, and I would like to briefly summarize them for you here.
The Night before game or tournament
• Eat a balanced meal consisting of lean protein (beef, chicken or fish), low fat high carbohydrate foods (potatoes, pasta or rice) and or vegetables.
• Continue to hydrate with lots of fluids, especially water. Stay away from highly caffeinated and sugary drinks.
• For a dessert or late night snack, try a piece of fruit, sherbet, or yogurt
Morning before game
• Try and eat breakfast 2-3 hours prior to first game.
•  Eat light and low fat. Avoid greasy foods.
•  Good choices would be cereal, bagel, fruit, Greek yogurt, waffles (pancakes may be too heavy), scrambled eggs or meal replacement shake such as Herbalife Formula One or Herbalife Rebuild Strength.
•  Continue to drink water and a sports drink. Stay away from caffeinated energy drinks.
•  Pack snacks with you, such as, carrot sticks, celery with peanut butter, granola bar, Greek yogurt, bagel, trail mix, plus extra waters and sports drinks
•  If you are leaving to go to the tournament directly from Mater Dei High School, your best bet for great food prior to your game can be found at the “Healthy Choices” window in the Le Vecke Center.
Between Games (Short Time; 1-4 hours)
•  Continue to hydrate with water and sports drink; 8-16 oz./hour is a good rule.
•  Eat a light snack within 30 minutes of the end of your game such as a low fat sandwich, trail mix, bagel with peanut butter, fruit, energy/granola bar, yogurt or low fat muffin.
Between Games (long time; over 4 hours)
• Eat a light snack within 30 minutes of the end of your first game
• At your usual mealtime prior to the next game (2-3 hour before), eat a regular sized meal high in carbohydrates, low in saturated fats and 6 to 8 oz. of protein.
Following Last Game of the Day
• Continue to hydrate with water and a sports drink; at least 24 oz. of a sports drink such as Herbalife Hydrate to help replace lost electrolytes.
• Eat a regular sized meal high in carbohydrates and protein (for muscle repair) and low in saturated fats. Unsaturated fats such as nuts, avocado, and olive oil are ok.
• Remember the veggies! Eat your dark leafy greens and other colorful veggies. Think about a salad at the end of dinner.
Although it is not nutritionally related, getting enough sleep is extremely important. Get at least 8 hours, but not more than 10 hours of sleep, to be refreshed and energized. “Getting plenty of sleep is not only for physical performance, but helps with mental alertness and focus”, according to an article on a recent research study by the Stanford School of Medicine.
 Tips for Picky Eaters
So you may ask, "how do I know if I am a picky eater"? Well here are a few questions for you:
1. Do you pass on most dishes served during a team meal except the ones you ‘ve eaten everyday since 1st grade?
2. Do you find yourself not eating the lunch you brought to school because it is just not exactly the way you normally eat it?
3. Do you refuse to eat anything green?
If this sounds vaguely familiar, you could nominally fall into the picky eater category and that is ok! You are in good company! The challenge is to make sure you figure out which foods you like so you can eat throughout the day in order to meet the nutritional demands you put on your body as a student athlete. You are looking to get good nutritional balance (enough energy, proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins minerals and fluids) through your week even if you eat better some days than others. If you don't achieve that balance, you could be throwing some roadblock in your nutritional road to success. Lets get to work on getting that s
Here are a few tips to try and get you started:
Veggie and Fruit Tip – Eat more of the veggies you already like. You can make up in other areas by eating more fruits that you like. Try to choose more fresh or even frozen fruits (smoothies would work well here) and have a goal to get a minimum of 5-6 servings of the fruits or veggies you like to eat. Fruit juices will also help you get extra vitamin C and antioxidants.
Proteins – if you are a picky meat eater, select two good proteins sources a day. Chicken always seems to be the easiest selection, so try frozen skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins and cook enough for a few meals so you can grab some quickly from the fridge and run. When you go shopping, stock up on other good sources of protein such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, beans, nuts, tofu, and eggs to have on hand. Hard Boiled eggs are always a quick source of protein. An Herbalife Rebuild Strength Shake is quick and also is a great source of protein for after your workout.
A daily multivitamin would also be a good idea to make sure you are getting all your daily vitamin recommendations.
Don’t be shy about new foods. Our tastes do evolve over time and you may find some foods that you may like. You’ll never know unless you give it a go! So get out there and be brave! And speaking of new food items, Give our Healthy Options line a try! They have some great things to choose from.
The Chinese analyst Sun Tzu stated, “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought”. These words speak to the importance of preparation before every contest.
The coaching staff, here at Mater Dei High School, works tirelessly to improve our teams through the latest training and strategy. As athletes, the one thing you have direct control over is the fueling of your body through proper nutrition. Eating a balanced meal that will provide you with the energy you need to maintain a high level of performance will be a significant part of athletic preparation.
Hydration is also a key aspect of game day preparation. It is beneficial to begin a balanced hydration plan the night before and continue to maintain hydration levels throughout the next day. This can be accomplished by consuming a combination of water and beverages containing electrolytes. Refrain from caffeinated drinks prior to competition as the caffeine will tend to accelerate dehydration.
Quick meal resources found on campus would be our Healthy Options food window in the Le Vecke Center and a good hydration resource would be a bottle of water with Herbalife Hydrate added.
Creating your “hydration base “(Hydration part 2)
In my last installment, I wrote on the importance of being conscious of staying hydrated throughout the day prior to your practice, game or event to help you prevent dehydration from adversely affecting your athletic performance. I am following that up with giving some hints about how to stay hydrated before your game or event beginning when you first wake up.
This routine is especially important during periods of extremely warm weather and/or humidity or when you have multiple practices or games during the day.
1. Start your day by consuming a minimum of 16 ounces of water when you get up in the morning.
2. Follow step one by drinking 64-80 ounces of water (that is about two 1 liter bottles of water) throughout the day to maintain a hydration base.
3. The day will also include getting 16-24 ounces of fluid (either water or a sports drink or a combination of both) 2-3 hours prior to your game, practice or event.
4. Make a point of trying to drink 6-12 ounces of fluids (Herbalife "Hydrate" or "Prolong" would work well here) every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise or during game breaks and time-outs.
5. After all is said and done, end with 16 to 24 ounces of either a sports drink or water after your practice, game or event to replace fluids lost while sweating.
6. Continue to consume fluids with your post workout snack or your next meal to continue to replace any fluids lost during competition or practice.
Like anything that you would like to become good at, making sure you are properly hydrated takes a conscious effort, planning and practice. Once you establish your routine you will see the benefits compared to other athletes who do not make that effort. One last thing, when talking about "fluids" to drink through the day I am referring to water or a sports drink such as Herbalife "Hydrate", Coconut water, etc. Steer clear of sodas and Energy drinks as the caffeine in those drinks will work against you.
The importance of Hydration (Hydration part 1)
Staying hydrated throughout the day could be the most important preparation you make before your practice, game or event.
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This will be the first in a 3 part series on hydration. Your performance on the athletic field will start to deteriorate as your body begins to dehydrate as practice or your game goes on. If you are not properly hydrated from the start of your practice, game or event then the consequences of this oversight will hit you earlier or right from the start. If you are experiencing muscle cramps in the earlier portions of your event, chances are that you will need to look back at how much fluid you were consuming the past 24 hours prior to the start of this event.
Ask yourself,
1. How much fluid did I drink immediately following my practice yesterday?
2. Did I drink any water after I woke up this morning?
3. How many caffeinated drinks have I consumed today?
4. Have I been drinking fluids throughout the day prior to my event?
Remember that dehydration increase the risk of heat illness and injury. There are easy ways to monitor your hydration levels. Check in with our Athletic Training staff to ask about how to do this, or check the next installment of this blog to find out.