Our health is crucial, especially as young athletes trying to perform and feel good on and off the field. So SGP wants to give you our Top 10 TIPS on how to stay healthy as an athlete so that you can feel the best you possibly can.
TIP 1: Bring a water bottle with you everywhere you go.
Yes, everyone knows that it's important to drink water but do you know why?! Normally we lose around 2 1/2 cups of water per day basically by BREATHING. However, for athletes it's so much more than that - you lose so much water through sweat (especially us soccer girls, let's get realistic). So, we can't emphasize this enough - make sure you are drinking enough water. It helps cool you down when you start to overheat and prevent cramps. It helps prevent dehydration and most importantly, you'll perform better (HOW BOW DAHHHH?)
TIP 2: Try to add a source of protein into every meal.
So many athletes, especially females, don't get enough protein throughout the day. And we're not just talkin' like 'PROTEIN MILKKKKKK' and crazy body builder shakes - We are talkin' like actual lean protein from whole foods like chicken, steak, beef, veggies and more. Protein plays such a huge role in energy and muscle preservation especially for athletes like soccer players. Protein is known for assisting/repairing your muscles and growth of body tissues (AKA It'll help you see those LEAN GAINZ from team lifts). So our tip would just be to keep in mind how much protein you are getting from your foods. If there are days you find that you can't get enough protein, using clean protein powder is a great solution!
TIP 3: Rest, recover, repair.
Ladiessssss. Do you ever find that you are so addicted to soccer and the feeling of working out that you can't physically take a day off? (All three of us SGP girls feel this way..you are not alone) We need to take a SEAT sometimes and RELAX. Seriously, pick an off day on your schedule or fully utilize your team's off day at school. Go for a light walk. Stretch or foam roll. Get a massage. Listen to your body. You won't see results if you are constantly putting your body into the "red zone" or overdrive. So what we are trying to say is...CHILLLLL GIRL. You deserve it.
TIP 4: Stretch
Going off that last point, it is absolutely crucial for you to cool down after practice/games/fitness sessions. Ask for ice immediately when you feel injured or a body part swelling..take care of yourself NOW... Also, make sure you stretch (even if it takes you 5 minutes) - Your body will thank you later.
TIP 5: Find downtime for yourself and also for socializing.
As athletes, sometimes we get stuck being so motivated and busy with practice, lifts, games, extra technical, workouts, etc that we forget to CHILL with friends or find alone time. It is so important for our health to relax and take a moment to breathe. Go for a walk by yourself, meditate, listen to music in your bed with no screens. Or on the other hand, when you don't have the excuse of "I can't, I have soccer" - go hang with friends and do NON-soccer related stuff. It is so important to find your balance.
TIP 6: Don't OVER INDULGE with foods coach wouldn't approve of ;)
Now, now, now. You know that we approve of the "treat yo' self" saying every once in a while, but we do believe in "everything in moderation". Because we are so extremely active as athletes and our energy expenditure is huge - we still need to remember our goals and why we do what we do. We encourage the treats every once in a while, but don't go and eat a whole family size bag of tortilla chips and packaged cookies and then wonder why you "don't feel good" or are struggling at practice. Everything in moderation ladyballers. Enjoy it but focus on the healthier whole foods that will fuel you!
TIP 7: Create a positive mentality.
We know the first thing we think about when we hear the word "HEALTH" is "FOOD", right? (Can't ever stop thinking about food..) However, it pertains to other aspects of your life like your mindset, too! Having a positive mentality on and off the field, throughout preseason, post-season and off-season is so extremely important to your health. It's what you are saying and what you are thinking that will depict if you improve and succeed as an athlete or not. So instead of being a "Debbie Downer" after you lose the ball or the girl that gossips about everyone in the locker room, or the player that cries when she gets subbed out - why don't we change our mindsets to find the positives of situations? Our tip is to try to turn one negative into a positive every day. We promise you'll see a difference in your performance!
TIP 8: Going off that last point, MOTIVATE YOURSELF!
Whether it's through an amazing pump up playlist or reading books/biographies about people who inspire you - make sure you find a way to keep yourself motivated and on track. We also love listening to podcasts and reading articles/books about stories and things that we are interested in.
TIP 9: Push yourself, but don't overdo it.
We love the saying "get comfortable with being uncomfortable" because that is an amazing way to improve as a player. However, we need to remember to listen to our bodies and not to OVERDO it when we are training or doing extra fitness sessions. We know that this is a fine line and it is hard to recognize when you are doing too much but really try to tune into how you're feeling and if you sense an injury coming along...no one wants that. Especially not COACH!
TIP 10: Put your phone down & go to SLEEP.
LADYBALLERS, PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND SLEEP. Yes, we personally know how hard this could be but the light from screens affects our sleeping habits...BIG TIME. Looking at our phones in bed and watching Netflix reduces the melatonin production in our bodies because our body is like - I'M WARM, I SEE LIGHT, that must mean I need to stay UP. We are completely messing with our bodies, tricking them that we should be active in the late hours of the day when we really should be calming down, cooling off and slowly falling into slumber. Our tip to you would be to give yourself a bedtime (or at least try to) where you can get at least 8 hours of sleep. Put your phone face down and on silent and make your room extremely dark. Get that melatonin flowin' so that you can fall asleep, stay asleep and REPAIR YOUR AMAZING BODIES so that you can CRUSH practice tomorrow. K?