Mar 2020

Fueling the Body & Mind

To perform at their best, Olympians and Paralympians take their physical and mental health seriously.
Michaela Reynolds

To perform at their best, Olympians and Paralympians take their physical and mental health seriously. As part of this preparation, they pay careful attention to what they eat in order to properly fuel their body and perform at their best.

As an athlete, your state of mind can have a huge impact on your sport performance, but this aspect of your well-being is sometimes overlooked.

Athletes Gideon Massie, Prince Mumba and John Naber all provided some expert advice to their students during their Ready, Set, Gold! school visits in the  month of February.

For example, during his third visit to the LA Leadership Academy, Olympian Giddeon Maddie was approached by a student he had worked with in the previous year. The student thanked him for his advice that mental stength is just as important as your physical strength.

Some of Giddeon's tips include the following:  

  • Think positively
  • Identify your stressors
  • Look after yourself - It’s important to know your limits and to build a good self-care routine into your life. This includes getting enough sleep.
  • Develop a support network - We all need people in our lives whom we can trust and whose advice we can seek quickly and easily. This could be a combination of family, friends and teammates.

During Prince Mumba's visit with his fifth grade students. he spoke with them about the impact that nutrition has on performance. This performance isn't just in sports but can also be in the classroom. Prince's next visit with his students will be the final exam -  the FitnessGram so he wanted to give them advice that he takes very seriously that helps him to perform at his best.

“I’ve discovered that I perform better on different foods. It can make your brain foggy when not fueling yourself properly," Prince told the students.

Nutrition is important for everybody.  What we eat affects how we feel and how we perform.  Eating plays a role in our daily lives.  For an athlete is doesnt make sense to train hard and then throw away all that hard work with an unbalanced diet. For students, it can be taking little steps to start on the path toward a strong mind and body. For example, choose water instead of soda or grab an apple  instead of chips or try to add more vegetables to your diet. These simple swaps will give you energy and fuel you for the classroom and on the field.

Forming good fitness habits is not only important, but it can also be a lot of fun.  Olympian John Naber talked with his students during his fifth and final Ready, Set, Gold! visit.  Over the last several months, John and his students worked on goal setting, perseverance, teamwork and execution.  

With the Fitnessgram test completed, John wanted to make sure the students were still focused on setting their own future goals,

“Your reach should exceed your grasp. To achieve anything worthwhile, a person should attempt even those things that may turn out to be impossible," John said.

He asked the students work to come up with one goal each that they have thought was impossible, but to instead work to make it possible. John continued to talk with the students about reaching  their goals, and how physical health, mental health, and nutrition are all important factors that will play a role in their future success.

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