fitness and nutrition made simple
Training, Mental Health & Physical Performance
Training is one of those beautiful things that, while outwardly a physical task, allows us to develop our mindset and improve our mental health.
When we strength train consistently, we not only get stronger, and faster, we also learn to
- build habits
- be comfortable when things are uncomfortable
- practice discipline, especially when we go to workout or practice even when we might not want to
- put in work and see quantifiable results.
Using these guidelines
Below, you'll find a list of to-dos to become the strongest, fastest, and most injury-resilient athlete you can become. Practicing these habits will not only help you to become a better athlete, but they will benefit you for life -- long into adulthood. Each task is expanded upon in the following pages for those who would like to dig deeper.
Any and all questions can be answered through email by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'LI JESTERS'.
- TRAINING - Do strength and conditioning workouts 2-3 times a week during your off-season, and 1-2 times a week in season to maintain your strength, conditioning, and mobility.
- NUTRITION - Follow our Pocket Nutrition Guide (included with packet). Aim for 1 serving of each to start at each meal you eat - prioritizing carbohydrates around practices/workouts, and fats in the morning and evenings.
- HYDRATION - Purchase a 64oz or more water bottle and aim to drink it fully once per day at a minimum.
- SLEEP - Stick to a daily sleep routine (when you go to bed & wake up) and shoot for AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep a night.
- RECOVERY - Manage your schedule accordingly to allow for time to recover, while maintaining a proper diet and sleep schedule. Bonus points for brisk walks and stretching after games and practices.
If you turn up worrying about how you're going to perform, you've already lost.
Train hard, turn up, run your best and the best will take care of itself.
- Usain Bolt
Just like most of our favorite video games, becoming a great athlete can be broken down into many different skills that we can work on. For instance, we can sharpen our speed skills, strength skills, endurance skills, etc.
We should think of these just like skills in a video game -- and when we work on them, our points go up in that skill.
Our goal should be to evenly increase our points. Being strong is great, but if we are only strong and not fast, then we won’t move across the field as quickly as we may need to.
Likewise, if we are really fast, but not very strong, we can easily be defended against by a stronger opponent.
Strength and Conditioning are how we sharpen all these skills. During our workouts, we focus on jumping, slamming, and throwing to increase power. We train things like squats and push-ups to increase our strength and our mind-muscle connection. And we finish with things like sled pushes and bike sprints to develop our endurance and overall work capacity.
All of these things work together to make us better overall athletes, and thus, great lacrosse players. There’s always some worry that working out with weights will make you bulky, and I want to tell you that it can be a little silly to think that way -- here’s why.
Worrying about becoming bulky from strength training is like worrying about accidentally becoming a Ph.D. when going to your freshman year at college. It takes A LOT of work to get a Ph.D. You need to study for years and years. You would have to make deliberate choices in your classes and research. And even after all that, you still might not get there.
The same goes for working out! Nobody accidentally gets big and bulky if they are training for their sport and eating a balanced diet. You could, if you wanted to, of course. But like getting a Ph.D., you’d have to make a lot of deliberate choices to do so over years and years and years, that would take away from your lacrosse development. So don’t worry about that!
We can't out-train a diet that isn’t structured for our goals.
It is critical to eat in a way that keeps us energized and promotes recovery.
Here are a few key things to remember:
- Protein needs to be prioritized in every meal. It rebuilds our muscles and other tissues of our body so that we recover quicker and can train harder. It keeps us full longer so that we are less likely to binge on foods that don't work towards our goals. And it helps us regulate hormone production in our bodies.
Shoot for at least a serving of lean protein that is about the size of 2 decks of cards every time you eat.
- Healthy Carbs and Fats are sources of energy - NOT enemies. Current research indicates that carbs are best around pre and post-workout/proactive, and fats are best upon waking and before sleep. Look at the carbs and fats included in our Pocket Guide to help choose the best ones for you!
- We are always one meal away from being back on track.
- Don’t stress it if you binge out, or don’t eat enough one day. It happens, and getting mad at ourselves doesn’t help us. Pick up where you left off and get after it!
For more, take a look at the Hang Loose Hand Portion Guide included in your packet.
Our body is made from up to two-thirds water so it's little wonder that water is crucial to the function and metabolism of our body. We can't survive for more than a few days without it, yet we can last for several weeks without food.
Despite the importance of water, many of us don't drink enough to maintain an adequate level of hydration. Part of the reason for this is that our thirst mechanisms don't tell us that we're thirsty until we're already quite dehydrated.
So, how much should we drink? There are several factors that can affect how much we need to drink, including body size, climate, and exercise. We lose water through breathing, sweating, and using the restroom. Exercising, practicing, and competing also speeds up the rate of water loss. Replenishing the body’s fluid balance is important for overall health.
A general recommendation is that young athletes should drink around half their body weight in ounces per day, plus one extra glass of water for every hour of exercise.
For example, if you’re 130lbs and did 90 minutes of exercise in a day you would need 65oz + 1½ glasses of water. To get some extra trace minerals, add a small pinch of unrefined sea salt to every liter of water – this will help maintain your hydration levels, especially if you did a lot of sweating that day.
If the thought of drinking 64 oz of water seems overwhelming, you could always start by increasing your current intake and work your way up.
Sleep pt. 1
A good night’s sleep is vital to our physical health, athletic performance, and emotional well-being. That’s why the benefits of good sleep should never be underestimated and why getting proper rest on a regular basis isn’t just a good idea, it’s an essential one. To prove it, we’ve put together the top reasons why better sleep means a better you, based on the Sleep Foundation's recommendations.
Sleep helps your body to fight back – While you’re sleeping your body is producing extra protein molecules that can strengthen your ability to fight infection. So if you’re feeling a bit run down and you don’t want it to turn into a full-blown cold, go to bed early and get lots of rest.
Sleep can be a painkiller – If you’re suffering pain from a recent injury like a sprained ankle, getting plenty of sleep can actually make you hurt less. Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and a lower pain threshold. Basically the more sleep you get the less pain you might be in.
Sleep helps keep your heart healthy – A regular sleep pattern can help to lower the levels of stress and inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which in turn can reduce your chances of a stroke or heart condition.
Sleep can make you smarter – both on the field and in the classroom. Along with a great night’s sleep, grabbing a quick nap in the daytime can contribute towards making your brain more effective and productive. You won’t necessarily be answering all the questions on Jeopardy, but you may well feel sharper, more attentive, and focused throughout the day.
Sleep can improve your memory – Ever noticed that when you’re really tired it’s harder to remember things? Basically, this is your brain telling you that it’s not getting enough sleep. When you sleep well, your body may be resting but your brain is busy organizing and storing memories. So getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.
Sleep pt. 2
Sleep helps reduce stress – If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it can react by producing an elevated level of stress hormones, which are a natural result of today’s faster-paced lifestyles. Deep and regular sleep can help prevent this.
Sleep puts you in a better mood – Lack of sleep can make us more agitated, so we’re more likely to snap at the boss or be grumpy with a loved one, neither of which is a good thing. The better you sleep the better your ability to stay calm, controlled, and reasonable.
Not getting enough sleep might cause you to gain weight. Poor sleep is linked to excess body fat as it can disrupt appetite regulation, cause you to feel hungrier, and lead to increased calorie intake. Also, excess body fat can reduce sleep quality.
Research suggests that being sleep-deprived changes the level of hormones that signal hunger and fullness in your body. This can make you more likely to choose unhealthy foods (like those high in sugar), and to overeat, particularly later in the day. So sleep plays a key role in regulating how your body uses food for energy and getting enough sleep could help to control your weight.
A few tips for the best sleep of your life:
- Stick to a sleep schedule (Also on weekends, set an alarm for your bedtime)
- Exercise, but not later than 2-3h before bed
- Avoid caffeine close to bedtime
- Avoid large meals and beverages late at night (Light snacks are okay)
- No naps after 3 pm
- Relax before bed (Journaling, reading, listening to music)
- Take a hot bath before bed
- No lights in your room, keep it at 65°F and no TV or phone (seriously, put your charger across the room!
- Get some sunlight during the day
- After trying to sleep for 20 minutes, get up, and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
There’s a saying we like to say at Stoked about recovery and overtraining:
“The most important workout is the next one.”
This reminds us that no matter what we are doing, we have to keep our future workouts in mind.
Getting caught up in the moment and overexerting ourselves is actually the easy, and wrong road to take.
The hard road is taking our time to find a way to challenge ourselves without inflicting harm.
We want to make sure that we are managing our time accordingly so that our practices, workouts, games, and other physical activities don’t conflict with one another, or beat our bodies up too much.
Some soreness from these activities are to be expected, but chronic fatigue, aches, and pains need to be addressed to keep the long-term goals a priority!
Besides managing our schedules, we can do things like brisk walks and stretching after practice (along with proper sleep and nutrition) to help promote recovery.