THERE’S AN OFT-REPEATED PHRASE IN SPORTS, ITS RECURRENCE HAVING WASHED AWAY ITS ORIGIN, BUT THE PREMISE IS THIS:
ATHLETES DIE TWICE, AND THE FIRST DEATH COMES IN RETIREMENT.
HERE IS HOW WE ARE TACKLING THE CONVERSATION OF "WHATS NEXT?"
1. PHYSICAL HEALTH
At the peak of every Elite Athlete’s Competitive Career, their Dietary & Exercise habits are developed for a Performance Purpose in order to play in PEAK condition on the Field, Court or Course. Immediately after every Athlete’s competitive career ends, their dietary & exercise needs cease being centered on Athletic Performance & MUST evolve to meet basic daily health & wellness needs. Elite Athletes spend years, if not decades, developing Performance-Based habits which range from ingesting up to 5,000 calories per day to regular “MAX OUTS” in weight rooms. During the Performance-Purpose years, those Athletes often have teams of EXPERTS, such as Team Coaches, Strength & Conditioning Coaches, Nutritionists, Trainers & Doctors who can provide Road Maps to these Athletes which reinforce those habits. Immediately following the end of their competitive careers, elite level Athletes’ Dietary & Physical Health needs EVOLVE from being Performance-Purposed to Lifelong Health & Wellness purposed. However, too often these Athletes do NOT know how to CHANGE their habits to match these new needs. In addition, they lose the Support Staff that have guided them for so long. Too often, the Elite Athlete finishes his or her Competitive Career & does not know what he or she should do next. First, they need to EVOLVE & learn how to go about accomplishing this.
The Nutrition and Exercise Pillar for the Always An Athlete Curriculum emphasizes for Student Athletes the need to begin thinking about adapting their habits BEFORE they need to, i.e. BEFORE leaving Competitive Sports, & they should be provided with the FUNDAMENTALS in order that they can develop their own Road Map.
GOAL: Always An Athlete, is NOT a Program designed to provide a diet & exercise plan for every Student Athlete AFTER they finish playing their Sport. It is a program designed to educate them about WHY & HOW to develop a Road Map for themselves. To this end, the content goals are to, (1) Educate Student Athletes about WHY they need to change their habits as they transition from Performance-Purposed Habits to Health & Wellness purposed habits; & (2) To educate Student Athletes about HOW to develop Diet & Exercise Plans when they no longer have instant access to Professional Teams of Adviser's, Coaches & other Support Staff, which would include “Broad Stroke” concepts & ideas, & may include more specific resources.
With a likely decrease in activity after sport participation, (both in time & intensity), decreasing caloric intake & carbohydrate intake is NECESSARY to avoid unwanted weight gain as well as other diseases that may accompany this change, i.e., High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Diabetes, etc. Additionally, certain nutritional changes may be necessary to PREVENT Heat Disease, Muscle Loss, Osteoporosis, Skeletal & other Diseases which may come with these changes.
Focus On/Provide: Fundamentals of healthy Non-Performance & Purposed-Nutrition & how to begin transitioning from Performance/Purposed based eating habits (e.g. may not want to immediately go from consuming 3,500 calories per day to only 1,800 calories per day). Content goal is to teach Student Athletes that they can remain “in control” of their diet, & create a balanced plan for themselves AFTER leaving campus.
After the performance period, Athletes can no longer expect others to keep them accountable with regard to their physical fitness. There will no longer be Teammates waiting in the gym & there will no longer be Coaches tracking reps. Athletes must understand that physical health is important in their daily lives even though they may no longer be utilizing their bodies to earn Scholarships or a paycheck (as is the case in professional sports), & they MUST adapt their motivation to be “In The Gym” from one of performance to one of staying healthy for friends, family and their bottom line.
Focus On the fundamentals of healthy Non-Performance exercise & how to transition to the “NEW NORMAL” athletic environment. Research highlighting the IMPACTon Athletes who fail to develop healthy exercise habits after retiring from competitive sports.
2. MENTAL HEALTH
3. ATHLETE IDENTITY