College athletes tend to spend several hours in the gym, on the field, and in gear throughout the season. With so many practices, games (and maybe even championships) to participate in, athletes can easily feel drained and exhausted by the end of the semester. This feeling, however, introduces a problem: after exercising and playing a particular sport for an entire season, many students put their athleticism on hold until the season swings by again next school year.
This can be very dangerous; if athletes are motivated to compete at the same levels by the next season, but enjoyed too much relaxation time during the offseason, they are likely to push themselves too far during workout and practices; this can lead to injuries.
Putting one’s body under such strenuous pressure after a long period off can not only lead to injuries, but also failing to exercise during offseason can cause students to lose their stamina and muscle. This can be dangerous for athletes competing at the university level, as they have a higher chance of facing breathing difficulties, feeling sick, and feeling faint during practices or games when they neglect to tend to their bodies properly.
The Dream of an Everlasting Workout
Some students feel that the nonstop workouts, practices, and games during the season provide enough exercise to last the entire year. However, these students are overcompensating in their minds.
Think of working out as cell phone minutes: most cell phone companies don’t allow leftover minutes to roll over into the next month. Therefore, extra minutes do not last longer than the time period they were acquired for. Similarly, working out and exercise does not last months in advance; if someone ceases their exercise routine, their body will not continue experiencing the effects of several previous workouts.
Studies show that constantly fluctuating 10-15 pounds during one’s 20s is very dangerous, and can lead to health issues down the road.
Feeling the Pressure
Some students will feel pressure to compete at the same level; when they do not meet these expectations, they can begin to lose their self-confidence pertaining to the sport. Worst of all, if they do not meet the coach’s expectations, they can be in jeopardy of losing their spot on the team, their role as a key player or team captain, and in extreme cases, they might lose their athletic scholarships.
FNU’s Top Tips
Now that students understand why it is so important to refrain from taking time off from working out during the offseason, here are FNU’s tips for staying fit:
- Take a Nutrition Class
A lot of staying fit has to do with nutrition. Understanding the effects of certain foods on the body during the season and offseason can be very beneficial. Not to mention, students will have a greater understanding of why coaches always encourage them to avoid empty calories and too much saturated fat, among others.
- Don’t Count Calories
This might sound like surprising advice to many readers, but athletes should not necessarily be counting calories. Because they are frequently exercising, they expend calories in the form of energy, and need these calories to function properly. Rather than counting calories, try counting the number of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein eaten each day versus less nutritious food items, especially processed foods, which are not beneficial to health or energy levels.
- Don’t Eat That Whole Bag of Tortilla Chips
Often, young athletes tend to think that they can eat anything they desire. Just because an individual is constantly exercising — therefore, craving calories — does not mean it is a good idea to eat anything and everything in sight. Eat foods that will energize the body. Another misnomer athletes frequently believe is that they can eat anything they want because their body looks healthy. Well, a fit body on the outside does not necessarily equate to a healthy body inside. It’s hard to see cholesterol-clogged arteries behind a six-pack, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.
- Create (and Truly Follow) an Exercise Regime
Offseason is the time where athletes can no longer give excuses; there is no one to answer to—just set your own goals and work towards them! Athletes should try to exercise at the same intensity and frequency for the same amount of time as they would during the season. Doing so will help students perform at the same level as the previous season, therefore encouraging them to grow and excel as the next season approaches.
- Find an Active Job
If possible, athletes should find an active job. Rather than sitting at a retail register, try a serving job—it is much better for the body, and can help keep the body functioning properly while avoiding the sedentary lifestyle faced by many Americans. Highly beneficial to health individuals should get moving and stay moving!
FNU: Fitness and Nutrition for Your Everyday Life
Florida National University has excellent professors and staff who specialize in a wide range of subjects, such as health services, accounting, criminal justice, and of course: fitness and nutrition for you, the student! If you are interested in FNU, review a full list of our programs and apply today!