Guest Post By:
Suzanne McKee, MS, ATC
Summer vacation – you get to hang out with all of your friends, stay up late, go to the beach, party, play video games, and basically do whatever your heart desires. You walk into pre-season with a great tan, and a ton of stories to tell your teammates. Then your coach smacks you with reality. Playtime is over. Pre-season has begun.
How can an athlete enjoy the rest of their summer vacation, and prepare themselves for summer practices? Pre-season is around the corner bringing with it heat, humidity, and intense workouts.
Heat: Become acclimatized to your environment
Summer in Charleston, SC is notoriously hot and humid. It is more comfortable to stay inside in the air conditioning, watch T.V., and play video games. However, this will not acclimatize the body to the weather they will encounter during pre-season or get the body in shape to be able to handle the physical demands. My advice is to participate in physical activities outside. It does not have to be jogging. Mowing the lawn, bike riding, walking the dog, and hiking are excellent ways to be active, productive, and start acclimatizing to the heat.
Maintain a regular sleep pattern that allows for 8 hours of rest, plenty of time for breakfast, and the ability to digest before arriving at morning workout sessions.
Make sure you are eating at least breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. If the food is considered fast, fried, or junk it should be taken out of your diet. If you want to be a champion, eat like a champion. Healthy snacks are an excellent source of energy, especially if there is more than one practice being held during a day.
Drink water. All athletes should avoid soda, coffee, and energy drinks. Before practice drink 1-2 cups of water at least 2 hours prior to start time, then another ½ cup right before exercise begins. Sip on water during all workout breaks; do not guzzle. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated; ask the coach for a water break.
Weighing in and out of practice is the best way to define water loss. The differences between weigh in and weigh out should not be more than 5% of body weight. Drink 2 cups of water per every pound lost.
The color of your urine is the easiest way to see if you are hydrated. The chart below is a great visual. If it looks like apple juice, you are dehydrated. If it looks like lemonade you are doing well!