Heading into the off season (at least for most) can be a huge relief. Taking off the pressure to do everything right and allowing yourself to indulge a bit can be very rewarding. With all that said, the off season can also be a great time to figure out your goals for the upcoming season – it could be the key to your success. Do you want to run faster, build lean body mass, or acquire a better swim technique? Goals are great because they allow us to choose what is important to us. With those choices comes motivation and vise versa.
One thing for certain that can help all areas of your life is nutrition. Not only does good food effect your performance, but also your mood, immune system, and your ability to focus. Nutrition is something great to work on in the off season, typically there is less training and more time for cooking. Part of eating well is setting yourself up for success and the other part is choosing optimally. No matter which it is, knowing quicker, easier options for meals and snacks are essential for getting on track and staying there.
Here are some tips for eating with a busy lifestyle…
- Use crockpot meals- lean proteins, LOTS of vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates.
- Make a smoothie made of protein, fruits and veggies for post workout-utilize thermal containers as they are great for taking them on the go
- Fresh fruit and nuts or seeds can be a quick, portable snack
- Utilize healthy restaurant choices for back up options
- —-chipotle (bowl vs tortilla, avoid dairy items), mod market, Whole Foods, frozen veggies and organic rotisserie chickens, quick brown rice, spinach is a vegetabls that lasts a while, canned beans (BPA free can), freeze crock pot meals
- When eating out choose the protein entree and a vegetable side, or get beans, chicken or fish to go on top of a salad, choose olive oil based dressings
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, thirst and hunger have similar mechanisms of action
Now that we got some of the “how to” specifics tackled, let’s talk about choices. We are inundated with sugar and indulgences in our society all the time. It’s not only hard to get on track but stay on that same path. It’s key to know yourself. Are you someone who has a bite of sugar and then can’t stop eating it? Or are you someone who wants to indulge the more strict they are with their diet? These things are important to know…for some moderation is key and for others avoidance is most helpful.
When trying to keep choosing wisely, it’s good to keep your goal or goals in the forefront of your mind. Really try to envision it happening, feel it, get excited about it. This alone can increase your motivation and keep in mind that what we feed grows, the mind is quite powerful. Know that choosing fruit over potato chips or nuts and seeds over a cookie is quite a large difference. Take for example this very scenario, the cookie (if not homemade) likely has trans fat and/or saturated fat, sugar, and white flour. This combo not only raises insulin and blood sugar but it also increases inflammation in your body and increases free radicals. Nuts and seeds on the other hand, provide a balanced mix of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. They also are rich in phytonutrients, minerals, and antioxidants (the things that combat free radicals). So as you can see it’s not just about removing something bad from entering your diet, but replacing it with something good that nourishes your body and spirit. As choices happen, continuing to make these choices becomes easier.
We all know there are times in our lives that we indulge more then others and of course we all still want to live fun and fulfilling lives, but trying to find that balance of health within your lifestyle can make all parts of life that much better.