Being a professional athlete is anything but an easy feat to achieve. While there are some cases in which people swear by having an “it” factor when it comes to sports excellence, a lot of mental, emotional, and above all physical preparation comes into play still. The difference for example between someone that is a good football player, and a pivotal piece of a Super Bowl odds favorite NFL squad usually starts with how they tend to their body and how they form a mindset in which living a healthy lifestyle is an absolute must.
Whether it’s about dieting, mental and emotional awareness, and proper exercising regimes to strengthen the body and learn how to avoid injuries, when it comes to how young athletes looking to catch a break in the competitive world of pro sports, certain rules automatically give them a heads up above their competition. So what are some health-related tips, physical and mental that up-and-coming athletes should abide by to continue on their path of achieving sporting excellence? Let’s take a look.
Food Is Your Friend, Don’t Turn It Into Your Enemy
When sports fans watch an NFL game, one of the first things they usually notice is the behemoth sizes of some of the players. Especially when you look at certain positions on the offensive line and defense, you will usually notice that some players look like they can sit down and eat an entire buffet and still go out on the field and dominate like there’s no tomorrow. While of course, that perception is nowhere close to reality, that doesn’t mean that players of that caliber aren’t putting in their time going through a lot of food day in and day out, but what it does mean is that every food and drink they have takes on a whole new meaning for their needs and desires.
When it comes to pro-level sports, not only football but in all other disciplines, be it at a collegiate or professional level, having a healthy diet is as much an important stepping stone in the preparation for practicing said sporting disciplines like training, strategizing, conditioning and studying. Understanding which drinks and fluids work best for your body, be it before training or practicing sports or afterward is a matter of optimal importance when trying to maintain a healthy and competitive shape and health.
For example, while many people chastise carbohydrates, pitting them out to be an enemy for weight loss and conditioning, having a diet where carbs have a part of it can help you with fueling the body with lasting energy sources that the body will thank. Just like with carbs, proteins and fats also play important roles in maintaining a diet made for high-intensity sports practices. While healthy, lean proteins help the body build and repair muscles, be they animal-based or plant-based proteins, keeping an eye out for fat ingestions is also a must. Healthy fats from positive sources like plants, nuts, fish, and some dairy products will usually contribute the most to keeping athletes’ bodies in check food-wise alongside all other components previously mentioned.
Make Resting A Priority
For athletes, just as important as performing at the highest level is, resting and allowing the body and mind to recuperate and fuel up again is of the utmost importance. Given that the body is a machine, one of the most perfectly tailored machines when handled properly, allowing the body and mind to rest is something that should not be addressed lightly. Giving the muscles as well as the brain a chance to dial back, take a break, and chill is one of the main reasons why injuries can be prevented with ease. In the world of sports, just as in life, it’s best to know when to continue as well as knowing when to stop.
Having a healthy sleeping and resting regime can allow the body to reset its functioning systems, allowing for better performances day in and day out. Fatigue might end up being an athlete’s worst enemy, so why want to tangle with taking your body over the required and acceptable limits? Resting allows the body to slow down, find a new rhythm and obtain levels of both physical and mental clarity that will always end up resulting in better results. So don’t skimp on the unwinding and sleeping. At the end of the day, your body will be the first to thank you and the first to show you the positive results from your decisions.