Whats the best performance enhancer you probably aren’t maximizing?
When it comes to being a performance coach I receive a lot of questions. Most of the time it is...
How many hours a week do you spend training?
What exercises should I be doing?
Which supplements should I be taking?
Can you write me a program?
As a coach I feel that it is my duty to help. If you were to ask any Performance coach I bet they would agree they hear these same questions.
A World of Rapid Results
We live in a world that wants rapid results... 1-day speed development camps, 7 day weight loss challenges, 90 days to shredded. The list goes on. In the world of performance, similar to life, I hate to break it to you....it takes time....and for some of you it may take longer than others.
So how long does it take? Well, like many questions the answer is....it depends.
In the college setting we are fortunate because most of our athletes are on scholarship and have to train 2-3 times per week. Similarly we are fortunate to have nutrition stations where our athletes are provided with supplements (protein shakes & chocolate milk) as well as supplemental snacks (yogurts, apples, bananas, peanut butter and bars). Having all of these supplements give us a leg up on others schools that do not have the necessary fundings.
To review we are able to speed/strength train our athletes 2-3 times per week, provide them necessary supplements, yet we still have kids who struggle to build muscles as well as others who struggle to lose fat.
Are we doing something wrong?
Again that is up for debate but I would like to argue we aren’t. So what else is left? How about the other 22 hours a day that aren’t accounted for outside of the weight room? How about the most important performance enhancer that no one is talking about?
Going back to what I noted earlier, I am dealing with college level athletes. College is a time when there is endless possibility to do anything but sleep. On average, college students get six hours of sleep a night.
We all know that 8 hours is the recommended amount of sleep; which means most college students are depriving themselves 2 hours of sleep per night. In my experience being around college students, I can guarantee that most are getting even less than 6 hours.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR ATHLETES?
Sleep is the most powerful tool an athlete has at their disposal.
Being active in a sleep deprived state makes you more prone to injury due to motor responses being dulled which can lead to inefficient neuromuscular patterns and potential injury.
Stronger Immune System
Sleep deprivation also weakens the immune system leaving you more prone to becoming sick, missing workouts and limiting your ability to recover.
“Sleep is a strategy that contributes to significant recovery from multiple fatiguing events, including both cognitive and physiological tasks, and is an influential factor in avoiding overtraining,” according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
- Facilitates muscle repair and growth
- Improves motor skill learning and memory
- Improves performance
- Enhances agility & reaction time
- Helps mitigate injury risk
Sleep Tips for Athletes
- Eliminate blue light before bed
- Manage stress
- Establish sleep schedule
- Take naps
Before you jump to paying for a slew of new supplements, make sure you are recovering and getting adequate sleep.
2 More Resources!
YouTube Video: Sleep is your superpower - Matt Walker
Book: Why We Sleep - Matt Walker
If you're looking for a way to enhance the sleep you get, try out the Max Effort Sleep!
Sports Performance Coach at Villanova University
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