Training in sports - A Mind and Body Approach. Part 1: From the body's point of view
For those of you involved in team sports, you will know how important team training sessions are. With restrictions beginning to ease, many sports clubs are able to resume with some form of team training.
The way we prepare for, approach, and use training can be the difference between a good and a bad training session!
Getting your body ready to train is essential, but by ticking off the boxes below, you can go into training confident you will be able to give it your all!
Before you put any calories in your body, remember, without adequate hydration, none of the mechanisms or processes in the body will be as effective and you will notice a drop in performance!
Firstly, you cannot effectively train without the energy your body requires to complete the session! The obvious source of energy is food; make sure that any food you have before training is taken in 60-120 minutes before training begins, depending on the amount of food you are eating. Try and make your food choices low volume and calorie dense, prioritising carbohydrates. A banana with peanut butter or honey on toast are great choices! Try to avoid high fibre foods which may cause discomfort when running around.
If food is not an option, there are several supplements that could help you in readying you for any training sessions.
Caffeine – The most widely used and researched of any pre exercise supplement. It is a powerful stimulant that temporarily lessens the feeling of fatigue and helps increase alertness and the ability to perform physical tasks.
B Vitamins – This group of vitamins play an important role in energy production and utilising calories taken for fuel.
Creatine – Along with caffeine, creatine is a well-researched and popular pre workout supplement, used when taking part in high intensity exercise and strength-based activities. It has been proven to increase performance in short term bursts during exercise (think sprinting!). It can be difficult to get enough creatine from your diet, being mainly found in meat and fish. Creatine Monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine.
The most important thing to remember to keep the body in an optimal state during training is to stay hydrated! Take water breaks as often as required.
If you feel yourself becoming thirsty or even light headed, take a minute and grab some water or an isotonic sports drink.
In intense or lengthy training sessions (more than 90 minutes of intense, hard physical training), you may benefit from an intra workout style carbohydrate based drink. Look for one with either Maltodextrin, Glucose, or Cyclic Dextrin as the carb source.
The commitment to proper nutrition and supplementation needs to continue after your training session has finished!
Now is the time to prioritise protein, ideally within two hours of finishing training. Many people use the convenience of a whey protein shake after training, whether that is a workout in the gym or a sports training session. Whey protein is a highly available for of protein, so is ideal post exercise to begin the process of repairing muscle fibres damaged during exercise and alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Carbohydrates are less important than before training, but will be beneficial in replacing muscle glycogen stores (the source of energy for muscles when they are engaged in activity). You don’t need to go too heavy on the carbs from a recovery point of view, unless you will be taking part in another intense training session using the same muscle groups within 24 hours of the first session.
Remember the warm up you did? Now you need to cool down! A few minutes gentle jogging or walking to get the heart back to it’s normal resting rate is the most common way to cool down. You also need to remember to stretch! For some reason it’s the element of a workout that gets dismissed most easily, but will help you keep mobility and reduce soreness. Use static stretches after a training session to round things off.
Your body needs to be well prepared and well recovered to be able to make the most of any training session, so take note of what is required and then go get laced up!