Many sports are fully underway here at Witt, and student athletes are getting their first taste of balancing school and athletics this year. Being a student athlete myself I often wonder what strategies can help me reach my maximum potential. So I asked Wittenberg Alumni and Exercise Science (Kinesiology) Professor at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Tom Dann, his professional opinion on what an athlete needs to know to be the best they can be. So whether you’re a freshman or an experienced Tiger, here are some tips I think will help get your season started right.
- Pasta before a sporting event. Pasta is a carbohydrate, and that is the best source of energy for an athlete. Carb energy is stored as glycogen in your muscles. When you eat it the night before, it gives your body time to digest the food, pull the nutrients out, and store it. The next morning at your meet or game, you can convert the stored energy into usable energy when you need it.
- Chocolate milk after practice. Who knew something so good would be a great post-competition or post-workout replenishing source? It’s all about carbs and protein! You need the carbs in chocolate milk to replenish glycogen stores and the protein to begin repairing damaged tissue (when you work hard, muscles and other tissue gain micro damage). Also, protein helps carbs store more easily as glycogen.
- Water weight replacement. It’s a good idea to weigh yourself before and after a practice or competition. For every two pounds of weight lost you need to replenish your body with a liter of water. Water is your best friend. Sports drinks have valuable electrolytes and taste good, but drinking them will give you unnecessary calories.
- Timing is Everything. The best advice for a pre-competition meal is to eat a small to moderate amount of carbs and protein (e.g. a bagel and peanut butter, bananas, hummus, veggies on a whole wheat wrap, or eggs and wheat toast) two to three hours prior to competing. This gives your body ample time to digest your food before you go.
- Extra Tip: From Olympic Javelin Thrower Breaux Greer. Besides being a beast, holding eight national javelin titles, and throwing a little under 3oo feet (almost the length of a football field), Breaux Greer works tirelessly to be in world championship shape. His favorite workout is something he likes to call ‘Get fit in 18 minutes.’ Greer will run up a set of stadium steps, hitting every step. Then, he will run back down, and his second time up, he will hit every other step. On his third time up, he will hit every third step. He repeats his cycle for 18 minutes. Try it! Maybe you’ll break his record.