As a teen athlete you need to take care of your body. Part of taking care of your body is working out so you can perform in your sport of choice, but you’ll want to exercise clean and smart, too. We’ve collected five tips that will help you excel in your sport of choice through exercise and overall fitness.
Keep Nutrition in Mind
Working out is an important part of staying healthy, but it is only part of the larger picture. To excel as a student athlete you must eat well, too. Your diet should be well balanced, and utilize both carbs and protein to build a healthy body. Teen bodies are still growing, so you’ll need to eat more than most people. Speak to a doctor or nutritionist about the right diet for your sport and body’s needs.
Remember to Stretch
Before and after each activity it is important to stretch. Take 10 minutes prior to beginning activity to stretch out each muscle group. After you’ve finished intense activity, take time to slow down, and cool your body down before stopping the activity. After you are done, complete the same stretching routine you did before working out. This will help to protect your muscles from injury, and increase flexibility.
Keep a Training Log
Every time you work out, right down what you did, including the number of reps and weights used, if you are doing weight training. Keeping a training log can help you better understand your progress. You can do this by simply writing down the information in a notebook, or you can use one of the many training log programs available for computers and even your cell phone. These logs allow you to input your information and they will calculate your progress.
Take a Day Off and Rest
Rest is important for any athlete, but it is especially important for the growing body of a teen athlete. Experts suggest working one body part at a time, and giving it at least two days to rest after. For example, if you are going to work your legs with weights on Mondays, you shouldn’t do weight work with your legs again until Thursday. The goal of lifting weights is to gain muscle and strength. In order to do this, the body must have time to repair the muscles so they grow.
Recuperation is a necessary part of being a healthy, happy teen athlete. You’ll need to work three types of rest into your workout.
- Rest for 30 to 90 seconds between weight lifting exercise repetitions and keep each exercise to three sets of 10 to 20 reps.
- After a workout, give your body 2 to 4 hours to rest. Stretch your body, have something to eat and relax before doing any more strenuous activity.
- After you work a muscle group give it 48 to 72 hours to rest, so your body can repair your muscles.
Teen athletes can greatly benefit from one day per week of cross training. Cross training, simply put, is adding an activity or exercise into your routine that does not directly relate to your sport, but will help you develop important skills that could be beneficial to your sport of choice. For example, if you are a soccer player, regularly running will help up your endurance. If you are a wrestler, pilates or yoga may help you gain important flexibility that will help you during a match. Cross training will also help your body work muscles you do not work during sport-specific activities, which will help you develop more well-rounded strength.