by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
I know that I am preaching to the choir with this information you are about to read. You will probably be saying, ‘Mandy, yeah, yeah, yeah, I already know this’. My question to you is are you doing it 100% of the time? Common sense is not always common practice.
I was at my previous school for eight years as the head coach. Once the second semester hit until the weather got warmer, the team had to practice or workout at 6am.
For the first two years, I will flat out say that I hated waking up early. I would wake up 30 minutes before practice, find something to wear, then grab something quick (and not the healthiest) and would eat it on my way or I wouldn’t eat anything at all.
What I learned is that is every time I was rushing out the door in the morning with very little or nothing to eat, I was setting myself up to over eat later in the day, my energy crashed much earlier in the day, I was having a hard time focusing on one thing for any length of time, and 10 extra pounds appeared.
It was after year two of having another bad winter of training segment as a coach that I finally had enough and knew that I had to change a few things.
That spring of year two is when I started tracking my daily actions to figure out where I could make better choices. Tracking is really my go-to to solve anything that ails me.
One of the biggest changes I made was choosing to get up even earlier so I had the time to prepare a good meal before I headed off for the day.
I very quickly learned that by making sure I got this one healthy meal in gave me energy, it satisfied my appetite, and set the stage for smarter decisions all day long. Just this one meal set me up much better to have a great day.
Proper nutrition is really vital to our ability as a coach to think clearly, focus easily, and have the stamina to work well.
If your typical breakfast is loaded with sugar, caffeine, white flour, and other empty calories—think coffee and doughnuts—or worse, if you’re skipping breakfast, guess what? You aren’t going to be a dynamo of energy for your team, recruits, or colleagues.
I know that you know this and are probably talking to your athletes a lot about what they eat. Again how well are you doing this for yourself? A quality breakfast is key to the success of your day.
Whether you have a full, balanced meal or a fruit smoothie and a piece of whole grain toast, it should be something you can prepare quickly and easily.
A health food bar, by the way, is not a meal, especially if eaten while you drive your car or sit on the train. (And check the ingredients on that health food bar. If high-fructose corn syrup is in the top three ingredients, you are really eating a candy bar.)
To help wrap my head around the idea of eating a mini-good breakfast before our morning practices, I put together a quick list of super simple foods to eat. All of these baby-sized breakfasts take less than five minutes to assemble, and probably even less than that to eat
- A whole wheat English muffin with nut butter. Toast, smear, eat and enjoy. Eat half or have it all depending on what you feel you’re going to need.
- Avocado toast with sea salt. Mash the avocado while your bread is toasting and top it off with some flaky sea salt.
- A 1/2 cup of yogurt and some granola. Skip the fat-free and low-calorie yogurt. A little fat and sugar is good before a morning training session! Go for regular, vanilla, or whatever flavor tickles your taste buds’ fancy.
- A 1/2 cup of Low-fat cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit. So simple but so good! Especially with pineapple.
- Eggs with chopped up spinach with fruit on the side.
- After your practice, don’t forget to follow up with plenty of fluids and a more substantial breakfast afterwards.
Before you start the week, take a few minutes to sit and plan your breakfast menu for the next week, and then add whatever ingredients you need to your shopping list. Try real food for one week and see if you don’t feel the difference.
College coaches all over the country turn to Mandy Green for organizational and coaching life tips, as well as leaning on her years of experience in the recruiting world. Want to ask her a question? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.