1 – being in shape
Carrying extra body fat around is a common sin for a lot of sports players be it recreational or at a high level. I am in contact with international level performers on a daily basis and their lack of understanding when it comes to nutrition is striking. Simple things like the role of protein in recovery from resistance training (as in muscle cell repair/growth) aren’t readily apparent to them a lot of them have nutritionists to help them and tell them what to eat but what about athlete’s who don’t have nutritionists to spoon feed them?
Exercise is not enough to keep you lean and it never will be unless your a professional athlete in which case you will be told what to eat anyway. The knowledge of what foods to eat and an awareness of what is in food stuffs and an appreciation of what calories are and how many you need. Simple knowledge that when a physically active person enacts it can lead to profound drops in body fat.
If you are involved in a team sport and don’t have a six pack that is a lot of dead weight you are carrying around to maybe no avail (in some collision sports like props in rugby or line men in amercian football a bit of fat might be a good thing). Let us take an overly generalised example. Let us say our example is a 82 kg hockey player who has 14% body fat.
So to the uncritical eye he is fit and in shape now let’s do some bro-math.
82 kg x .86 = 70.5 kg Lean Mass
Which means he has 11.5 kg of Fat mass, whilst he probably would not want to get to 5-6% body fat as he would suck at hockey. However if he was to drop 5% body fat (easily done assuming his diet isn’t the best) he would drop 4 kg of fat mass that is essentially doing nothing for him.
He would run faster, jump higher, be fitter, turn faster, be more agile, accelerate faster, decelerate faster and drastically reduce the risk of lateral injury.
WITH OUT ANY TRAINING.
All he has to do is understand what good nutrition looks like and implement it.
2 – sleeping enough
Sleep is always underrated when it come’s to performance. When your an athlete who engages in 5-10 sessions a week over a period of 6 days your performance day to day in training is probably one of the biggest factors in your success. The better you train the better you play typically.
One night’s sleep can have a profound decrement on your ability to perform the next day.
- One bad night’s sleep has been show to decrease Vo2max test results on average by 11% (ranging from 5-40% decrement showing a lot of individual variance.)
- Sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease maximal performance on bench press, leg press and deadlift to a confidence interval of 0.001% of it being to chance. It has also been shown to increase feelings of confusion and fatigue and decreases in feeling of vigour
- Less than 6 hours of sleep lead to a 63% increase in the incidences of minor injuries in NBA athletes.
- Athletes who slept for 10 hours were compared to athletes who slept for 8 hours were 9% more accurate in basketball free throws, sprinted 6% faster and reacted 13% faster.
3 – training hard!
This is probably the most obtuse of the three but just throwing yourself into your training is one of the biggest determining factors between successful and non successful athletes. Just straight up dumb as wood hard work!
Sure you might be intensely interested in the physiology of cell repair and the nuanced ways of how to help this process along that are so cutting edge you don’t even know if they work or not. Or the interactions between volume loads and intensity during these phases of training or prior competition. The best way to decay a taper etc…
When was the last time you pushed yourself so hard you vomited? When’s the last time your had to lie in bed for 12-13 hours on a weekend because you went too hard the Friday night on your weights session? When was the last time someone commented on how hard your training? When was the last time you thought your lungs where going to come out of your ass because you went to hard on your intervals?
Optimising training is fun but if your not training hard then there isn’t much point in polishing a turd. If the job of your training programme is to stop you from over training or pissing blood then your missing a trick.
If you take someone with the work ethic to push themselves 100% physical effort when asked and put them in an intelligently put together programme you will see some great results. If you take someone with no work ethic and put them on any programme you will see shitty results.
Motivating people or yourself to the point where you can give 100% is one of the keys to being the best athlete they/you can be.