MY TOP 6 TIPS
- Create a mini ‘Prehab’ program – why not return to play fitter, faster and stronger than you were before with the right set of exercises…Or iron out all those niggles that you just wish you had time to sort usually during the season. (Check out our ‘How to not need a physio’ videos on Soul Perform’s YouTube channel)
- Eat well – yeah I know it’s hard as you’re bored, you’ve done a massive online shop and chocolate is still readily available, your metabolism hasn’t stopped thinking you need more fuel, your first match is at least a week or 2 away…stop kidding yourself! It is so much harder to climb back on the ‘eat to perform’ wagon after time eating whatever you like, whenever you like! Give yourself the odd concession, but on the whole, eat to nourish yourself as a primary aim.
- Keep your stress levels in check – keep up some sort of cross-training for your nervous system such as yoga, balance your brain chemicals and lower your stress hormones by taking nice deep breaths, meditate or read a book if that relaxes you. (Refer to our YouTube channel for some yoga videos to follow from around the world)
- Sleeeeeeeeep! It’s so important for recovery of muscles, nerves, tendons, and getting the nice deep sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed and revitalised in your body, so that you can perform at your best. Not to mention keeping your immune system in check. Try to get 8 hours a night, with a couple before midnight.
- Prep your day well – start your day with a freezing cold shower. Have you ever heard of Wim Hof, the iceman? He’s incredible, surviving at extreme temperatures in nothing but a pair of shorts! Cold showers can curb inflammation, increase lymphatic drainage, boost immunity and encourage circulation…everything you need as an Athlete, Performer or budding Sports person. Give it a try, starting with 5 seconds at the end and building up to a minute or so every morning. (It also does wonders for jetlag but that’s another blog entirely!)
- Get your vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and aminos…basically most athletes are under an intense amount of scrutiny most of the time (press, match play, private life), with stress hormones playing havoc with their gut. You can’t always rely on absorbing everything you need from your food, and don’t get me started on our mineral-depleted food chain! So supplements might be the next best thing, especially if you’re a vegan athlete travelling in China for example! When in Beijing for the China Open, I asked for ‘just vegetables’ from the waitress, she nodded, so I asked her what the sauce was made out of, ‘pork!’ And that was the only vegetarian option!
Anyhow the main thing is that you check all your supplements for the ‘informed sport’ logo to clear them for banned substances, if you are playing at a level that requires drug testing. Also check that you are getting all your essential amino acids in your protein powder, fatty acids and vits and mins as a basis.