What I learned from becoming an All-American Athlete?
The start of my All-American athlete Journey was in middle school when I absolutely fell in love with the sport of track and field events shotput and discus. After my first middle school meets, I told my dad “I’m going to be the best Discus thrower, What do I have to do that?” That very night he printed off the results of the previous High-school Discus State Championships. For two years, I focussed on my goal of winning State. I was Sleeping 8-11 hours; Eating 4 meals with 2-3 snacks, and Practicing for 3-4 hours daily. Before bed, I would study my craft, watch films, and take visionary reps. Keep in mind that this was middle school. I was dreaming BIG and working hard. I worked so hard that even on my bad days, I was still setting myself up to win. Freshman year of high school, My hard work paid off and I Won State! I met my goal three years earlier than anticipated. Each year, I wanted to see how much further I could throw. Always, looking for the next record to break. To become Elite in your craft you must be obsessed with how you are going to get better.
Junior year of high school, my first experience with burnout. At this point, I have been obsessed with my craft for 4 years. I could no longer sustain what I had been doing. So what’s next? Reflect and Pivot. I was not giving the little things the attention that I should have. I was no longer prioritizing sleep and nutrition. I had to reset and recognize that my intense training load was not going to make me better unless I was willing to re-prioritize Sleep, Hydration and Nutrition. I had to also re-establish my “why”. I was no longer doing track and field due to an innate drive to win but I was doing it for the adventures it brought with my family and friends. I was doing it to learn how to overcome hard times and continue to grow. Coming back from burnout will look different for everyone and having a strong foundation is merely the starting point. Recognize early signs, reflect and prioritize the little things. Learn to love adversity and the growth that follows it.
All-American Athlete Secrets:
- Be Consistent – Step one: Show up! Come to practice every day seeing it as an opportunity. Growth occurs when you can show up sore from a heavy lift and see it as the perfect opportunity to improve your technique or your end of the gameplay. Once I started prioritizing growing my knowledge on the days I was exceptionally sore, I was able to have even bigger throws on the days I felt good.
- Do the little things – Prioritize the basics of your sleep, training, nutrition, recovery, knowledge, and mental health. There are so many factors that go into becoming an All-American such as genetics, sleep, mental toughness, competitiveness, “heart”, coachability, speed, strength, rest, body composition, and more. Lay the foundations of sleeping and eating well, early. With a strong foundation, you can grow brick by brick increasing the ceiling of your capabilities. You can not build with no foundation.
- Fuel your Performance – Build your plate for performance. Having proper nutrition is a non-negotiable when it comes to becoming elite. Not eating enough of the right foods will result in earlier fatigue, injury, and a decrease in your physical threshold. Work with Nutrition With Wendi to Build Simple Systems to build lean mass and strength.
- Recovery (Don’t wait to become injured) – Elite athletes do not wait for an injury to start rehab. Pushing through the pain is much different from pushing through injury. You are going to hurt and be sore but use your tools of nutrition, hydration, stretching, rest, rehab, and sleep to improve recovery time. Identify when you are injured and seek medical advice.
- Reflect – Are your actions aligned with your goals? I once cut out any fluids other than water to become a better athlete and be “healthier”. I reduced my Carbohydrate intake and focussed on only protein and veggies. After a few weeks, I was exhausted and passed out at practice. Hence reflection, were my actions aligned with my goals of improved health and performance? No, they were doing the opposite. I felt more exhausted and light-headed. I needed more electrolytes, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Do not Yo-Yo diet and work with NWW to ensure you are fueling for health and performance.
- Rest Days – To build your physical threshold and muscle capacity you must have rest days. Sometimes the best thing you can do is sleep. If you want to optimize rest days schedule time to take visionary reps. Visualize what it’s like winning, visualize what it feels like. These reps are Freebies! Watch the film and then take your mind off it with self-care. Incorporate gentle walks and stretching to help promote recovery.