By Steve Born, fueling expert for Hammer Nutrition
Racing season and your key events are just around the corner, so as you increase the volume and intensity of your training, make sure to apply these tips for maximal benefits:
1) FOLLOW A STRUCTURED TRAINING REGIMEN BUT DON’T BE A SLAVE TO IT. It’s important to have some structure in your workout program. You can’t just “wing it” and hope to achieve best results. However, as your training volume/intensity increases, you may find that you are extra tired the day after an especially hard workout session. If that’s the case, it’s better to rest or do an easier-than-originally-planned workout. Stubbornly adhering to a specific workout when your body may not be able to accommodate it won’t benefit you. Instead, you may fall victim to sickness or injury.
2) GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP. “Sleep deprivation can put you in one of the worst holes you’ll ever experience. It goes hand in hand with overtraining, erratic training, and poor performances.” Those are words from highly-respected coach Nate Llerandi who labeled the lack of quality sleep “the ultimate performance killer.” Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure that you get sufficient amounts of sleep every single night. If you need assistance, reach for REM Caps (1) and a capsule of two of Essential Mg.
3) DON’T DIET, TRAIN. “Dieting” and “training” are not compatible. When you deprive your body of the calories it needs at the same time your training volume and intensity increases, you put unnecessary stress on it. You may lose some weight but it will first be water weight, then lean muscle tissue (not ideal at all), before the fat comes off. Don’t overeat, of course, but instead of restricting your food intake, eat sufficient amounts of food and let the work you do in your training be your diet.
4) SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET. Supplements have never and will never replace consuming the healthiest diet possible (2). You can’t neglect your diet, take scads of pills, and have all your nutrient needs covered. Still, given that food alone does not supply all the micronutrients we need to prevent deficiency, let alone achieve optimal health, plus the fact that it’s highly unlikely that any of us eats an ideal diet as consistently as we think we do, it makes a strong case for implementing a sensible supplement program. Start with a potent multivitamin/mineral supplement such as Premium Insurance Caps.
5) STAY HYDRATED, NOT JUST DURING TRAINING, BUT ALL DAY LONG. With approximately 60% of your body being comprised of water, it goes without saying that it’s vitally important to maintain optimal hydration status all day long. Unfortunately, a lot of people—perhaps you?—live in a state of perpetual dehydration and that negatively affects athletic performance and overall health. Starting now, gradually increase your fluid intake—primarily from pure, clean water—so that the total number of ounces you’re drinking on a daily basis is equal to half your body weight in pounds (e.g. 180-lb athlete should consume 90 ounces of fluids daily, in addition to what is being consumed during exercise). During exercise, drink 18-25 ounces per hour, and up to 28 ounces per hour during hot weather.
6) STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR ELECTROLYTE INTAKE. Early season training and/or when training volume and intensity increases, usually results in greater electrolytic mineral loss. That means you may need to increase the amount of Endurolytes or Endurolytes Fizz that you normally use. If you’re exercising in weather that you’re not yet acclimated to, consider Endurolytes Extreme.
7) “REFILL THE TANK” AFTER ALL YOUR WORKOUTS. Replenishing your body with high-quality carbohydrates and protein is important all year long, but especially so when you ramp up your training (3). When you finish your workout—before you get out of the sweaty clothes, take a shower, and get horizontal for a couple hours—make sure that first you get some food or fuel back into your body right away, within the first 30 minutes. This is the “window of opportunity” that your body gives you to restock and increase glycogen stores, rebuild the muscle tissue stronger, and protect immune system functioning.
Some of these tips may seem painfully obvious, but a lot of athletes still neglect them or forget to apply them consistently. By adopting these seven practices on a daily basis, you will be giving your body the support it needs to be able to accommodate higher training volume and intensity.
— Steve Born