You are an athlete. Train like one.

Whether you are into Crossfit, IronMan, kickboxing, dancing, running, mountain biking, or one of the many other focused driven sports that require discipline, strength, endurance, and balance, proper training is important. Taking care of your muscles, getting enough sleep, and eating to support our bodily function is vital. We sat down with Knicks City Dancers (New York Knicks) Athletic Trainer, Monica Lorenzo, to talk about training regimens she uses to prevent injuries and support overall health and wellness.  

Strength and Conditioning.

Having an athletic trainer on your side can be important. Athletes work hard, and designing the proper workout based on your musculoskeletal strength, flexibility, and functional movement, not only can you address issues it can help provide insight into what your personal strength and conditioning program should look like. Cross-training is good for muscle and ligament conditioning. For her dancers, Monica incorporates a three-five days a week at home workout which supplements their group training. By pre-screening the performers she implements cardio moves such as running, rowing, elliptical, and intervals on the bike, that work in conjunction with each dancer’s individual lifestyle, taking into account their daily activity levels. Lorenzo’s goal is to maintain an optimal balance of training in order to gain the most strength and power without compromising the quality of their performance which may lead to injury.

Proper Sleep.

First, let’s talk sleep debt. First, let’s talk sleep debt. We all need sleep to function properly. Lorenzo advises her dancers that reaching optimal sleep hours is more important than an early morning workout or a night out with your friends.  Your body is fully recovering when it is sleeping. If you are not getting enough sleep, you are not gaining muscle strength or muscle enhancement. Sometimes you need to forego the workout to give your body the rest it needs, and not put your wellness in harm’s way. Tip: Look ahead at your calendar and schedule sleep time as you would any meeting or appointment.

She advises athletes to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night and cautions not to attempt catching up missed sleep in one day, “Sleep debt is similar to a credit card. Sleeping in on one Saturday cannot recoup two weeks of bad sleep. You can pay back your principal sleep by adding one hour, per one hour of sleep time lost throughout the week until you have reached your balance of time loss/total needed sleep.”

Turning Off The Phone.

Cutting down smartphone screen time before bed is only one example of how Lorenzo helps maintain optimal health for her dancers. “It is important to cut out screen time at least one hour before bed.” Lorenzo also recommends meditation and breathing techniques to aid in stress reduction and getting to sleep.

Nutrition.

Keeping an open conversation about nutrition is also important.  Having a basic meal plan that has a proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein is important for every athlete. “Many don’t realize they are eating a high sugar diet or not processing the protein correctly. Protein loading can be more harmful than helpful, as more than 20 grams at a time may not be processed correctly. Also, consuming complex carbs or food with higher sugar levels in the morning is a better time,” Lorenzo suggests.

Tip: Hydration is important, drink water throughout the day. The rule of thumb – ½ of your body weight in ounces + 1 ounce per 30 minutes of strenuous exercise.

Endurance athletes work hard, and can easily over exert themselves. Companies such as OURA Ring and Habit are startups that are focused on health and wellness. Monitoring sleep, daily activity levels, and your heart can be beneficial to athletes in knowing when to stop or when to push harder, something OURA Ring prides themselves on. Habit diagnosis your DNA to discover your body’s unique nutritional intake- how many carbs or proteins your body should be consuming.

Workouts and nutrition are not always a one-size fits all, either are strength and conditioning regimens. Up-level your workouts by knowing your body, your lifestyle, and having an athletic trainer on your side.

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