For optimal performance results, a student athlete needs a customized training plan that is developed in conjunction with a coach or trainer. The student athlete should discuss the training plan with an expert before beginning any program. Still, the best training programs take into account the following:
- Training consistently will result in the best possible outcome. Athletes should develop a consistent plan and stick to it.
- Cross-training is the key to avoiding injury, getting better results and keeping the workout interesting. Vary your routine.
- Stretching is important. Ask your coach to build a stretching component into your workout.
- Warm ups should come before stretching to help prevent injury. They should also be specific to the sport. Ask your coach to provide the best possible warm ups for your situation.
- Strength training and cardiovascular fitness are required. No matter what the sport, you should incorporate both into your routine.
- Muscles that stabilize are too often ignored. Ask your coach to incorporate drills and exercises that strengthen stabilizing muscles, especially your back and core.
- Most teens benefit from weight training with high repetitions and light weights. There’s more chance for injury with heavier weights.
- As in all things in life, balance is the key. Don’t over train one group of muscles and neglect anothers.
- Good form and technique will help you avoid injuries. This is true no matter what the sport.
Immediate Nutritional Recovery
When your workout is done, your training is not. Recovery should start during training. There is a very important timing window for nutrition to take place. This means that if you wait until after your workout to take in nutrients there is lost training effect.
Recovery from the stress of the workout is when you realize the gain from the workout. You cannot gain the adaption in muscle until you recover. Here is a step by step process for recovery during workout:
- Take four to six ounces of a sweet drink (e.g., watered down Gatorade or Power Ade 50/50) to ingest glucose or fructose. This gives you quick sugar intake and results in the body’s release of insulin making your fuel depleted muscles take in glucose from your bloodstream and restarting the refueling process.
- Take in 12 to 16 ounces of a fast protein in liquid form. This could be an organic yogurt shake, protein shake or organic chocolate milk. Liquid is easier for the body to use than sold forms of protein like a protein bar. This contributes greatly to recovery and optimal training.
- Eat 75 grams of carbohydrates, e.g., raisins or fig bars. A small box of raisins contains 56 grams of carbs, so you’ll need a little more than a box or three fig bars. Within one hour, eat a nutritious meal containing at least another 75 grams of carbohydrates.
It’s critical to take in the right nutrition immediately after a workout. It could mean the difference between either taking full advantage of your training or limiting your improvement.
Life of an Athlete has opened my eyes and the eyes of numerous other athletes on my team. We never realized to what extent our nutrition, behavior, and training could affect us. We always worked hard …
— Sarah Dunlap (Student Athlete, Inter-Lakes High School )