So it’s that time of year again where everyone starts to really get serious and start preparing for the start of the regular season. Maybe you’re freaking out because you know that you did absolutely nothing to prepare during the summer, maybe you’re like me and you did train, but you wish you had trained harder. Maybe you really used this summer to improve your game and take it to the next level. No matter which type of player you are, we all have the same goal in mind, which is to get/stay in shape this season and use this to our advantage over our opponent.
Most of you don’t know me, but I am currently a Biology major and Nutrition minor in my sophomore year, as well as a student athlete at the State University of Oswego in New York. As a science major, I spend A LOT of time studying, and have to really work on my time management. So therefore finding the time to get back into shape is going to be difficult, but I learned quite a few things from my freshman year. First thing that I learned is that what you eat can drastically affect everything you do on and off the ice. This sounds a little cliché, especially since this sounds like I’m just repeating one of my nutrition textbooks, but really think about it. You’re giving your body fuel in order to get it to do work, just like a car. If you put the wrong stuff into a car it isn’t going to work properly, and neither will your body.
Everyone expects people who go away to school to gain “The Freshman Fifteen” but if you eat the right foods along with the correct portions then you can actually avoid that scary “Freshman Fifteen.” This brings me to another thing that I have learned. Watch your portion sizes!!! If you pay attention to how much you’re eating of everything then you can actually use it to your advantage. If you are eating the correct portions of protein, carbohydrates, and fats (yes you still need to consume fats) then your body will get rid of the bad and unwanted fats while helping you to build those necessary muscles. Personally, I have found it very easy to find good food at the dining halls on my campus. Most of them have several options to choose from, and since you’re now an adult living on your own it’s your decision on what to eat.
Lastly, being a student athlete is just that. You’re a student who is also an athlete, so the student part always comes first. There are severe consequences if you don’t follow this, just one being that you’re no longer an athlete so therefore you have to learn how to balance school and athletics. Most times your coach and your teammates will be understanding if you have to miss a practice to get help with a certain class, but you shouldn’t be missing too many because that just shows your coach and teammates that maybe you aren’t up for being a student athlete. Time management is the key to success when you get to this level. You are only in classes for about fifteen hours a week, so your professors expect you to do a lot of self-teaching. This just means that outside of class you should be studying any material not covered by your professor as well as the stuff they covered in class.
It’s not as scary as it sounds, as long as you plan out your schedule and give yourself time in between class and practice for you to sit somewhere quiet and get work done. Planning this time and bringing all of the materials you need to do your work with you to your classes will help make sure that you can get to your study spot and start working without wasting time walking back to your dorm to get your work. Start this planned schedule as soon as you can in the semester and it will help you stay organized and on topic throughout the season. You can’t change when your practices or workouts are scheduled, but you definitely can change your personal schedule to accommodate for those unconventional ice times or morning weight lifts. So make sure that you are planning your time outside of practices, as well as having a controlled diet, and you can get back in shape without feeling overwhelmed by everything!