Wake up at 6 am. Fuel up with a pre-workout snack. Complete your sport-tailored workout, and then follow it up with a recovery breakfast. Does this sound familiar to how you train and fuel during the holidays?
Probably not. But that’s okay!
Let's be realistic. Training during the holidays is nothing like this! As an athlete, you deserve to sleep in and take more rest. But what we want to make sure of is that you are still fueling and recovering properly during this break period. Here are some of our top tips for maximizing your winter break!
Try and keep your sleep schedule consistent
We understand that your sleeping patterns will be less strict over break. You don’t have 6 am mandatory lifts to report to, so it makes complete sense to take advantage of sleeping in. However, we recommend keeping a consistent sleep schedule. First and foremost, we should be aiming for 8 hours of sleep. With this being said, try and keep your bedtime and wake-up time consistent. For example, if you go to bed at 12:00pm and wake up at 8:00am, keep these times consistent! Take advantage of this time to get enough sleep, before heading into either training season or playing season. Sleep is critical for many reasons: it improves athletic performance, decreases risk for injury, improves mental state, and more. Essentially, we want you to prioritize the rest while you can, but be sure to be mindful of keeping a consistent schedule!
Just because you wake up later doesn’t mean you skip breakfast.
It’s normal to be off of routine during the holiday. As discussed before, we recommend taking advantage of being able to sleep in. But just because you might be waking up later, maybe 10:00 or 11:00 am, doesn’t mean you should skip breakfast! Or, if you plan to tackle your workout earlier in the day, still consume a pre workout snack!
We can also look at this tip from a different perspective. We understand that some athletes plan to include more rest days in their break. The same principle occurs. Just because you might be resting more does not mean you should be skipping out on meals and snacks.
Follow an individualized plan.
Continuing to follow a rigid and strict eating and workout plan during the holidays is not ideal, and also not recommended. Naturally, the holidays offer lots of free time and flexibility. We recommend that each individual athlete finds a plan that works for them. For some, 3 meals might not be ideal during the holidays. Some might find that fueling with 4-5 smaller meals might work out better. Likewise, working out at 8:00pm instead of 8:00am might be more suitable. Every athlete is different in what personally works for them.
Extra lifting? Inflammatory foods!
One thing an athlete can’t wait to do during break is head back to their old gym. Their hometown gym where they grew up lifting and practicing in. While you might be increasing your lifting time while you are not in season, your inflammation might increase as well. Here are some of our recommendations for anti-inflammatory foods that will help your body recover: avocados, berries, leafy greens, chia and flax seeds, beans, olive oil, fatty fish, tart cherry juice, etc. Consuming these antioxidant-rich foods will ensure that your muscles continue to recover over break.
Use this time to experiment and get creative!
With this extra time, try and challenge yourself to get more involved in the kitchen. Help a family or friend cook. Tell the family that you will try and make a new meal one night! Getting involved in food preparation is not only fun, but also a great learning experience to help you become a better athlete as you take a new perspective on food!
Using this time to take care of your body is critical. We want to make sure that you are going back to school completely rested, in shape, and prepared for the season. All of these tips are critical for making this happen!