3am, wide awake as I begin writing this.  Not sure if out of obsession or frustration, probably both.  Regardless, I can’t sleep, and I can’t stop thinking about choices athletes have to make.  Maybe I obsess too much.  Maybe I spend too much time trying to find ways to motivate my athletes.  Maybe it’s because I know if my athletes don’t start making the right choices, right now, they will never realize their full potential.

As a sedentary person, with no aspirations of athletic achievement, you literally have to do nothing.  As an athletic person, with goals/dreams/aspirations of achieving athletic greatness, there is so much you have to do, and so many choices/sacrifices you have to make.  For the purposes of this blog, I am going to keep it very simple, and break it down into 3 major components.  There is a lot more to it than what I am going to say right now, but this should be easy to understand.  Eat, sleep, train.

Whatever your chosen sport, chances are you have to be stronger, faster, and more explosive than your opponents in order to succeed.  Sure there are sports that have exceptions to this, but generally speaking, this is true.  To become stronger, faster, and more explosive, you must subject your body to a particular stress (training) in order to bring about the desired change.  Not only must you subject your body to stress, but you must also feed it the proper nutrients, and allow it sufficient time to recover.  These 3 go hand in hand.

If you don’t eat the right foods, you will not have enough of the proper fuel to train effectively.  If you do not sleep enough, your body will not recover properly to allow you to train effectively.  If you cannot train effectively, your athletic performance will suffer.

Did you have to wake up today at 6am to go to school/work?  Then you should have been asleep no later than 9pm last night.  Why?  Sleep is when your body heals/rebuilds/repairs itself from all the damage you do to it while subjecting it to stress (training) in order to bring about the desired change.  You need 8-10 hours of sleep, every night.  If you do not sleep enough, your body does not fully restore itself, and your progress will be delayed.  Just like bad weather does not allow the crews to work on building this stupid bridge by the gym, and delays the entire process.  So, didn’t sleep enough last night?  You will probably have a crap training session today, and I am going to be frustrated with you.  Getting the right amount of sleep, is a choice you have to make.  Maybe you should have stayed home instead of going out.

How much did you eat, and what did you eat yesterday, the day before?  You should be eating a meal every 3 waking hours.  Why?  Your body needs the proper fuel to allow you to subject it to the proper stress (training) in order to bring about the desired change, and to aid in the recovery process your body goes through while sleeping.  If you do not eat enough of the right foods, you cannot train effectively enough, and recover quickly enough in order to do it all again tomorrow.  Haven’t been eating right?  You will probably have a crap training session today, and I am going to be frustrated with you.

The training is only a part of achieving your overall desired athletic performance.  You can’t just come to the gym and say, “Hey, I’m here”, and become great.  It is so much more than just what you do in the gym.  If you are not eating and sleeping properly, you will have crap training sessions.  If you have crap training sessions, you will not become as strong, as fast, or as explosive as you need to be.  Maybe you aren’t quite as strong as your opponent on the platform, and you lose by 1kg.  Maybe you aren’t quite fast enough getting around the bases, and get thrown out at home.  Maybe you aren’t quite explosive enough and the linebacker drills you as you come through the hole, stopping you short of the goal line.  Maybe you aren’t quite quick enough, and get dunked on in front of your home crowd.  Maybe you don’t make the varsity squad, maybe you don’t get into the school you want to, maybe you get overlooked for that team you are trying to make, maybe the recruiters and coaches don’t notice you.  Maybe you never perform on an athletic field again after high school, and nobody ever remembers your name.

What you choose to do today, can have an enormous impact on what you are doing 10 years from now.  Coaches can only make suggestions.  We can only give you the proper tools with which to perform the task at hand.  You, as the athlete, have to choose to use them.  Are there exceptions to these rules?  Sure.  Think you are that 1% who is just genetically superior to everyone else, and can just do whatever they want and still be great?  Think again.