If you’re like most athletes, once off-season starts, you’re ready for a well-deserved break. During the season, you’re constantly working to develop your skills, improve your eating habits and are always striving to see performance results.
By the time the hockey season is over, you might feel like you’re ready to sit on the couch and forget about it all. Don’t be tempted! Off-season is a very important time to perfect your nutrition habits so that you’re ready and fully charged for the following year.
It is vital to stay consistent with your nutrition plan — even in the spring and summer. If you swing back and forth between healthy eating patterns and poor ones, you might end up feeling defeated and nowhere ahead the next season. To be really successful the next season, you want to maintain all of the hard work you’ve invested. This will allow you to see results in your health and performance for the long term.
Here are some top strategies to maintain in the off-season:
- Always carry a water bottle with you. Having lots of fluids prevents you from overeating and fatigue.
- Eat a healthy breakfast every day. This is the single most important habit for an athlete to ensure their performance is at the top of their game. Never skip this meal, especially during the season — your body will rely on the fuel it provides.
- Include vegetables at lunch, supper and as snacks. If you don’t give yourself more than one opportunity a day to eat them, you won’t get enough.
- Keep the desserts, chips, fries, ice cream, pop and juices at a minimum. Allow yourself a maximum of only one indulgence a day.
During the off-season you will have a lot of time to create inspiring goals and figure out ways to reach them. Here are some tips:
1) Invest some time. Think about your present life and set goals that will help improve your health and performance. Decide how you will take the steps to achieve them.
2) Set mini goals. Start with one or two goals that are manageable and that you can accomplish in the next week. The following week, reassess. If it was too easy, add a new component. Otherwise, it’s ok to work on the same goal for a few weeks in a row. Get used to your goal until it becomes a part of everyday life and you don’t have to think of it anymore!
3) Start easy. An easy goal is much more likely to be accomplished than a complex one. Ask yourself, on a scale of one to 10, what is the likelihood that you will accomplish the goal. If it’s not an eight or a nine, you should re-evaluate and make sure the goal is something more reasonable.
4) Be super specific. Think of where, when, and how you plan to work on your goal. For instance, if you want to include more vegetables in your diet, your first goal could look like this: I will add cut-up carrots to my school lunch every day to eat as a snack for around 2 p.m.
5) Think about barriers. What are some barriers to your goals? Do you have people who support you? Telling someone your goal and plan for the week makes you much more likely to achieve that goal. Use the buddy system!