1. Have a sleep routine and stick to it.
When you really break it down …. To improve your performance in sport you must be able to recover and regenerate, which occurs while you sleep! Therefore getting adequate sleep consistently is essential to your performance in sport.
Go to bed at a time that allows you to sleep long enough. This seems simple but is often overlooked.
Going to bed at the same time every night allows your body to get into a natural rhythm that will allow consistent quality sleep to assist in your recovery from training. The darker your room, the better the chances of a deep sleep for a longer period.
2. Staying well hydrated – On the daily!!
Dehydration leads to a loss in volume of blood in the body. When you are dehydrated you are decreasing the volume of blood to deliver oxygen to your working muscles…this means that the heart will have to pump a smaller volume of fluid to meet the demands of the working muscles. Working with a smaller blood volume, the heart will have to pump faster to do the same amount of work, causing your heart muscle (and you) to fatigue faster and leading to lower performance in sport.
3. Keep your blood sugar balanced at all times.
To generate the most explosive speed and power during competition or practice, you must have the right type of fuel available to the body when required. You want to eat foods that cause the blood sugar levels to stay in balance, and eat these foods at a frequency that allows the blood sugar levels to stay balanced throughout the day. Precompetition and prior to practice you want to eat a combination of optimal fat, carbohydrate and an easy to digest optimal protein such as eggs or fish. Try to eat this type of combination frequently throughout the day (every 2-3 hours) to maintain your blood sugar in a steady state.
4. Eat your GREENS – to Improve your alkalinity.
Increasing alkalinity improves the performance of athletes (speed-based sports in particular). A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine (June 2008) has shown that by increasing the pH of the blood elite swimmers were able to significantly improve their performance times.
The explanation for this sits exactly with the acid/alkaline balance theory in that by increasing the body’s alkaline buffer, the athlete’s body was able to more easily deal with the acid build up caused by the fast burst of energy consumption. Dr Folland, who led the study (alongside Drs Lindh, Peyrebrune, Ingham and Bailey), found that in the 200m freestyle, the athletes who alkalised their blood took 1.5 seconds off their time.
To increase alkalinity absolutley any vegtable of any colour will improve your alkinity…so pick your favorites and enjoy all of the physiological benefit in your performance in sport and life.
5. Keep your immune system in top shape.
As an athlete who is training at high intensity you will generate more free radical damage than someone who is training at a low intensity. Even if you are eating a diet that is nutrient dense with lots of antioxidants present with each meal you will still have to supplement with basic antioxidants such as Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Selenium and Omega 3’s to maintain a surplus of antioxidants. Surviving is not enough when it comes to recovering from the demands of your training: thriving is the objective. I recommend to all of my clients that they take Immunocal which is a supplement that is recognized by both Canadian and American physicians in their “Physicians Desk Reference” as a method of treatment for many immunological disorders because of its positive and direct effect on the immune system. Having an immune system that is thriving will allow you to regenerate and recover from your training- key to improving your performance in sport. (please go to my website for more information- www.jillianhalligan.ca)
Only the Best!
Jillian Halligan M.Sc., B.Sc., C.E.P