We all know the feeling.
Your body is beat from a brutal morning visual block. ☀️
Your brain is mush from learning a hundred new drill and chorography changes.🥴
Your belly is bloated from inhaling your fast food lunch.🤢
You’d rather dive into a long nap rather than an afternoon marching band rehearsal.🥱
Want to know how to stay focused and energized up through the last run of the day?
Here are 5 tips to keep you going strong all rehearsal day long:
1.Skip the Sugar Surge
Sure, sugar can give you that initial boost of energy but it doesn’t last! The aftermath of a sugar crash can seriously impact your performance on the field. Try to avoid “added sugar” like the one’s found in soda, candy, and other sweets as these don’t provide much other beneficial nutrition. The “natural sugar” found in foods like fruit, milk, and milk products also provide other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and fiber. These are a better choice to provide fuel that lasts! Keep reading to find out how to pair these foods with others to create sustainable energy and prevent the dreaded sugar crash.
2. A Balanced Meal = Balanced Energy
When it come to a midday meal, too often marching athletes opt for what’s quick and convenient rather than what will keep them fueled and fully functioning. Unfortunately, this can leave you struggling to survive the rest of a rehearsal day. When is comes to keeping energy levels optimal and steady the key is keeping your blood sugar in check. The goals is to prevent your blood sugar levels from looking like a roller coaster and more like a gentle wave as seen on the graph below.
Steady blood sugar levels are achieved by eating meals and snacks that are balanced with carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Theses “macronutrients” are broken down into energy and play other important roles in our normal functioning. Carbohydrates are our body’s main fuel source but without protein and fat to even it out, your blood sugar it will spike and drop, leaving you feeling depleted and drowsy. Not enough carbohydrates and your body will start to break down your muscle mass for energy, which can take a toll on our strength and endurance. Incorporating adequate amounts of each macronutrient will help you power through those long hours on the field.
3. Use Caution with Caffeine
It’s a common misconception that caffeine “gives” you energy. What caffeine actually does is block the receptors to the chemical that makes us feel tired. That’s why once the caffeine wears off we often feel even more drained than before. Caffeine can also cause sleep disruptions and worsen symptoms of anxiety. Generally, adolescents should limit their caffeine intake to no more than 100 mg daily. This is the equivalent to about 1 cup of coffee, 2 cups of tea, or 2 to 3 sodas. Just 1 Bang energy drink contains 300 mg of caffeine, that’s 3 times the recommended limit. Besides zapping your afternoon energy, excessive caffeine can stunt brain development and cause bone loss. Everyone reacts to caffeine differently, some are more sensitive to its effects than others. If you choose to consume it, do so carefully.
4. Hype Up Your Gut Health
Your insides ever feel heavy and sluggish during the afternoon block? Your gut health might need some fine tuning. Keep your digestive track grooving by eating high fiber foods like beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds with every meal. There are fiber supplements available as well but try to use food to meet your fiber needs first. Fiber does more than preventing you from feeling backed up. It also helps you feel full so your stomach isn’t grumbling in-between reps. More importantly, it slows down carbohydrate absorption to keep your blood sugar steady. Remember, steady blood sugar means steady energy levels.
Warning! When increasing the fiber in your diet, do so slowly and be sure to stay hydrated to prevent some unpleasant side effects like cramps and excessive gas.
Probiotics are bacteria that have many health benefits including keeping our intestines happy. You can find them natural in fermented foods like the ones shown here:
There are also different products that have added probiotics like trail mix, fruit bars, even chocolates! Making probiotic-rich foods a normal part of your diet can better your bowel function and prevent any GI discomfort from distracting you during practice.
5. Don’t Snooze on Sleep
No matter how hard you try, you can’t out eat or drink a bad night sleep. Sleep in not only vital for keeping you alert and energized, but it’s also needed for muscle growth and repair. In addition, sleep aids in taking new information and converting it into long-term memories. All important components to enhancing a marching athletes performance both physically and mentally. If you aren’t getting at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, you’ll likely feel tempted to nod off during the afternoon.
Rehearsing for 8+ hours is rough for everyone. Set yourself up for success by prioritizing your rest and nutrition so you can stay at the top of your game all day long!