Being a student-athlete can be tough. Not only are you trying to trying to grind it out in the pool and in the weight room, but you are also trying to work that mental muscle in the classroom. Setting aside time in your day to aid your recovery is essential. Here are five, easy things that you can sneak into your busy schedule to keep performing at your best in the pool, in weight room, and in the classroom.
Power naps (typically naps lasting between 20-30 minutes) will do wonders! Limiting yourself to 20-30 minutes will not only allow you to recharge your mind and body, but it will also prevent grogginess upon waking up. You’ll be rejuvenated and ready to go right when you wake up. We all have busy schedules, but try to find some time during the day when you can find a quiet place to shut your eyes and relax. A quick nap will help your body’s recovery process and significantly combat mental fatigue.
Having the ability to take quality, 20-30 minute power naps is a definitely a skill, and a fantastic one at that. It’s super important to zone out and shut your mind off. Everyone has different strategies; some people can fall asleep with headphones in, and some people need earplugs in a dark, quiet room. The key is to find how you can best disconnect and relax.
We all know the feeling of being sore and tight after practice. You worked your muscles hard, and now they need a little TLC. While you should be taking adequate time to warm down at the end of workouts, you should also set aside 10-15 minutes to have a proper stretch. Stretching is a great aid in the recovery process as it helps keep your muscles long and loose, and it is great for injury prevention.
Proper nutrition before and after practices will help your body prepare immediately for the next practice. If you are rocking the two-a-day part of your training, make sure you get a full lunch in between practices. Don’t forget some high quality snacks throughout the day as well. Timing your meals is also important. You want to make sure you are not eating a big lunch 30 minutes before a two-hour workout, because swimming on a full stomach is never comfortable. The same goes for eating too early. If you don’t eat for three hours before working out you aren’t going to be able to perform at your highest level for the whole practice. Ideally, you want to be having your midday meal anywhere between 60 to 90 minutes before workout. Also, it should go without saying to always make sure you are drinking water all day to stay hydrated.
Compression gear is designed to help your muscles recover. Wearing any sort of compression wear is a great way to mindlessly help your body recover during the day, while you sleep, or even during your training. When you wear it, though, is entirely a matter of preference. Compression sleeves like theA3 BODIMAX Sleeves are great at not only keeping your muscles compressed, but also promoting better blood flow to your muscles. These particularly compression sleeves are meant to be worn during training, but I also like to wear them at night when I am sleeping. I’m recovering without even thinking about it!
Get to bed early
Now I’m not your parent, so I’m not going to sit here and lecture you on the importance of doing your homework. However, I am going to tell you that the earlier you get your homework done, the earlier you can shut down at the end of the day. If you are doing morning practices, usually you are in the pool before the sun gets up, so getting a quality eight hours of sleep each night is tough. Try to get all of your homework, chores, or whatever other responsibilities you have taken care of early. This will give you more time to relax and chill out.
This piece is brought to you by A3 Performance BA Blogging – Bad Ass Blogging by Bad Ass Brand Ambassadors. This piece was written by athlete and ambassador Matt Hutchins, a 2016 Rio Olympian and University of Wisconsin Badger.
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