3 TIPS FOR THE OPTIMIZED ATHLETE
Question from Chris Tischler via FACEBOOK
I’m getting older (41), but I played D1 college ball and still like to play a lot. I’m actually preparing for a big very competitive upcoming tournament; the World Police and Fire Games. I’m looking to get the most out of my body and training. What supplements did you find helped you the most as you got older?
Chris! Great questions and it happens to be one of my passions; How do we optimize “x”? How do we optimize our bodies and how do we optimize our training? We are all so busy and time is truly our most valuable (and fleeting) commodity. How do we do what we need to, what we should do, and what we want to do? There is just not enough time!
I’m certainly not in a place of being able to answer this questions from any place of authority, but in the spirit of being a fellow sojourner on the quest to maximization, these are the things I am thinking about.
Mindful practice: Given that we don’t have time to spare it becomes increasingly more critical to maximize our time. I am currently trying to build a business, transition to professional beach volleyball, get better at golf, and learn the drums. This on top of being a husband, father, and friend. I have noticed for me that intentional growth starts by putting practice times on the calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not a priority and won’t happen. Then when I do get to that ear-marked time, I try to be totally present and make sure I am squeezing the most out of that time (mind and body). There are lots of books out there about this subject, the one that I am reading now, and one that I most definitely recommend is “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. There is so much valuable information in this book and worth a read!
Physically speaking, as we age, Recovery becomes the major consideration. In my last season with the national team, my days were full. The volume on the court and in the weight room was the same but the warm up and cool down was significantly longer than in my earlier years. In fact, I like to say that competitive PEAK can be extended well into your forties, it just takes more work. Recovery includes various modalities (I use GameReady and Normatech) as well making great “fuel” choices (nutrition) and making sure you are getting enough sleep. I have also discovered (the hard way) that if we aren’t careful, prolonged stress can wreak havoc on our bodies. My 2015 season was completely lost due to the stress that I was under and didn’t know it. Letting go of stress is highly individual, but for me, it involved verbally purging (which was instigated by some well-meaning friends that could tell something was up) and also doing breathing work with my neighbor who is a Yogi. The last two things (talking and breathing) I would have laughed at in my younger days, but now I am all in on utilizing those tools!
On a practical level, back in 2005/2006, I made a big personal discovery in regards to nutrition. World League is the annual National Team tournament where we are playing and traveling all over the world in a short amount of time. I had noticed a pattern emerging; I was in the top five of every major statistical category halfway through the tournament, but without fail my performance would drop off and I would limp towards the end of the tournament. I was turned on to recovery shakes and informed that if I didn’t replenish my body within 30 minutes of the end of any physical activity, my body would start eating away at itself (i.e. muscle). I didn’t want that! I started to use recovery shakes (Favorites: Previnex and Biosteel) which are ideally three or four parts carbohydrate to one part protein immediately after I finished a practice, match, or workout. I do it religiously (still to this day!) and it has made a massive difference in my recovery and overall health. I have also taken daily antioxidant supplements from Previnex for over a year. They don’t have the same drastic feeling of improvement that the shakes did for me, but I do feel great and believe that they help.
I hope this helps Chris!