Want to dominate on the field, court or mat? Then be like Will Power.
Who's Will Power? He's the guy who joins his teammates at local fast food restaurants but resists the greasy, high-calorie fare in favor of healthier alternatives. (Do the same with STACK-approved options at Wendy's and Burger King)
He crushes cravings for sugary sodas, opting for water or a sports drink. He tosses aside temptation to drink alcohol or do illicit drugs. He overpowers peer pressure when a misguided friend recommends that he try a risky performance-enhancing supplement. Why? Because he's focused on his number one goal: To be a healthy student-athlete, both mentally and physically.
After all, if you have the physical strength to squat a truck or bench large pieces of furniture, but lack the mental power to say no to something that can knock you off your game, your abilities—both on or off the court—will suffer.
So if you want to be a complete player like Mr. Power, improve your willpower with these three tips:
- Lead by example. Don't just do what your friends are doing. If they're chowing down on fries and burgers, find a healthy option on the menu and go with that. You'll not only be a step ahead in your workouts (better nutrition results in better performance), you'll show that you're someone who can "walk the walk" when it comes to healthy eating. Whether or not they admit it, your teammates will be impressed—and may even ask you for advice.
- Snack wisely. Remember that the foods and drinks you consume have a direct effect on your energy levels. Candy and sugary sodas deliver a temporary energy surge, usually followed by a crash into lethargy. Instead, opt for choices that provide sustained energy, like fresh or dried fruit, healthy cheeses and water. (Want other ideas? Play The Healthy Grocery Shopping Game.)
- Eat smaller meals more frequently. Since they're more active, athletes tend to have higher metabolism rates, so the three-meals-a-day approach is not optimum. Going for a long period of time without food can not only make you hungry, it can also make you moody—and more likely to overeat at the meals you do have, overcompensating for your hours of hunger by consuming more calories. By eating smaller, more frequent meals, you'll be supplying your body with a more consistent stream of energy —and also giving your muscles the nutrients they need for growth. (Learn 10 Nutrition Rules To Live By)
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