BY MARLENE ROYLE
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
Be honest. How well do you take care of yourself? Athletic lifestyle is all about your daily pattern of nutrition, hydration, and sleeping habits, as well as feelings of well-being, stress management, and personal time for other interests. Take a pen and paper and write down five areas where you can make positive changes in your daily life. Here are some considerations:
- Improve nutrition to increase energy availability by boosting whole-food consumption.
- Increase aerobic efficiency by trimming excess weight.
- Raise your power-to-weight ratio.
- Hydrate adequately to reduce fatigue and assist recovery.
- Consult a sports nutritionist if you need professional advice.
Quality sleep is an essential component of recovery from exercise and for supporting weight reduction. Do you really get enough sleep? If not, look seriously at strategies to increase your rest time, such as taking catnaps or changing your daily schedule. Cheating on your sleep is easy when you are bus, but in the long run, it is detrimental to your performance. You should not raise your volume of training at any time if you are not able to get adequate rest. It is better to take an extra day off from time to time to sleep in than to run yourself down. Go to bed at a time each night that enables you to catch enough Zs. Sleep in a room that is quiet and dark with circulation of fresh air. Good recovery will keep you healthy, boost your ability to exercise at a quality level, and help you work through the toughest moments of training.
Take time to identify how you can improve your mental preparedness. Do you need to manage stress or learn to concentrate better? What keeps you happy? Find ways to build relaxation into your day. It will keep you on top of your game and help you make good decisions.
Marlene Royle is the author of Tip of the Blade: Notes on Rowing. She specializes in training for masters rowers, and her coaching service, Roylerow Performance Training Programs, provides the program and support to improve your competitive edge. For information, email Marlene at or visit www.roylerow.com.