This Story Is SO Sick

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Capri Cable, Editor-In-Chief

Playing a sport is a difficult thing, it requires that you keep your body in fit condition and exercise a healthy diet and fitness plan in order to participate and compete at full capacity.

When it comes to priming muscles for competition, strength training is extremely important. “Strength training not only enhances and primes muscles for competition, but strengthens tendons and ligaments that are often sprained/strained.  The more you train, the more readily adaptable your muscles are,” said Zuenges. According to Zuenges, if you “tweak” a muscle or make a sudden change in direction, etc. your body is better able to adapt to it, instead of become “stunned” or sidelined by it. “A mix of strength and agility exercises is the best approach for this,” said Zeunges. Strength training is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles

According to Zuenges, athletics are demanding on the body and you must give your body time to recover properly, getting sick often and having trouble sleeping are signs of overtraining. “I would value sleep as the next key component in preventing injuries,” said Zuenges.

A major key component to recovery and maintaining healthy habits as an athlete is nutrition.

“This is one things athletes seem to struggle with the most,” said Zuenges. According to Zuenges fueling up with proper carbs and fats pre-game/practice and carbs and protein post-game/practice is going to help muscles recover faster than sugary/processed food. “What I often see in female athletes, probably even in many males, is a lack of protein,” said Zuenges.

“Something I’ve come to realize most people are unaware is the size of a serving of protein – for reference, a single chicken breast has about 25 grams of protein in it.  These numbers vary slightly depending on which type of training and athletics you participate in,”  said Zuenges.

“I would describe strength training, sleep, and nutrition as an equilateral triangle, really– with strength and agility training as the foundation/base.  All three are equally important for optimal training/results.  You can’t have much success if you’re lacking in even one area,” said Zuenges.    

Todd Simpson, senior high cross country coach has a plan for keeping his athletes in shape. “As far as training, we run a lot.  We do different types of workouts, some on hills, some on the track, long distances and short.  Some fast some medium, some really fast. We also occasionally do pool workouts and strength and conditioning work.  We do dynamic stretches each day before the workout and often do static stretches afterward,” said Simpson.

According to Simpson diet and nutrition is crucial. “We have not given copious or specific details about diet but do remind the runners to eat healthy and avoid junk as much as possible,” said Simpson.

“The body is a living machine.  If we do not put the correct fuel into it and do not “tune” it up then it will not run (pun intended) well for us when we need it to on race days.  The workouts, stretching and diet all serve to prepare the body for the work we want it to do,” said Simpson.

Senior Julia Daniele describes her routine to stay in shape for field hockey and lacrosse season “The simplest exercise I do is body weight training during the season as well as the off season (Squats, lunges, push ups, sit ups, planks, etc.) Everyday. I also get enough sleep and drink a lot of water. I also stretch quite often,” said Daniele.

It’s huge for an athlete to really take care of their body – it’s the only one they get, and it sure does take a beating,” said Zuenges.