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How to maintain optimal performance and conditioning during pre-season training

Published: 21 December 2020 - Fitness and Training, Injury Treatment and Prevention, Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Pain Management, Physio Tips, Wellbeing

If you’ve taken the appropriate steps to return to sport safely, and decreased your risk of injury during training, you’re probably contemplating what comes next!

Maintaining optimal performance and conditioning during pre-season training is the next natural step in the process. Just as it is important to maintain your fitness level during ‘real’ games, pre-season is all about improving and maintaining your skill at a level that can sustain you for the rest of the season.

Showing up to your scheduled training nights is great, but it won’t yield optimal results. Outside of regular training sessions - whether they be fortnightly, weekly or even daily - there are extra things to take on board, or simply be mindful of, if you’re serious about achieving and maintaining optimal performance.

We’ve narrowed our list down to four lifestyle recommendations that we believe are at the core of maintaining optimal sport performance and conditioning.

1. Clinical Pilates

Pilates is used by professional athletes, models and dancers all over the world. Pilates exercises have a long history of improving posture and flexibility, core stability, decreasing stress and even enhancing concentration.

Not to be confused with traditional pilates, clinical pilates is a variety of carefully modified exercises that are guided by a physiotherapist. They can be specifically tailored to the needs of the individual and are used by athletes such as David Beckham, Serena Williams and Shane Watson as a training tool.

2. Massage Therapy

Although we all picture relaxing spa like treatments in fluffy white robes, remedial massage therapy requires more in-depth knowledge and skill than that of a general masseur. Physiotherapists that offer remedial massage use their understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy and muscle, tendon and ligament manipulation to provide remedial results.

Among its many amazing benefits, remedial massage relaxes tight muscles, increases flexibility and range of motion, eases stiff joints, lowers blood pressure and stimulates the circulation of blood and oxygen. It is evident that massage shouldn’t be considered a luxury, but a lifestyle routine that aids your overall health and wellbeing.

3. Clean Eating

This sounds like an obvious one, as we all know the food choices we make have a direct impact on our health and wellbeing. However, proper nutrition becomes even more crucial when undertaking an intense training or exercise routine.

Your diet needs to include enough energy and nutrients to meet your physical demands, include sufficient fluids to prevent dehydration during workouts and promote long term health - no crash diets here.

Carbs have been grossly misunderstood in the past. They are actually our main source of energy and our ability to exercise relies heavily on this. It is best to include a wide range of foods in your diet, such as whole grain breads, fruit, vegetables, lean meats and low fat dairy products in order to prevent the likelihood of deficiencies.

4. Positive Psychology

The mental and emotional preparation for sports competition can be as big a task as the physical preparation. Your mind is so powerful, that your mental state before and during a game can impact your physical performance.

Negative emotions are associated with motor function, decision making and attention span, which can be crucial during a game of sport. The ability to control your emotions, remain calm and positively influence stressful situations can be essential tools in handling the demands that accompany sports.

Applying these recommendations on top of your regular training nights will yield impressive results. However, it doesn’t have to stop at the end of the sports season! These tips may also be added to your routine at any stage of life to promote a healthier, more positive and longer life.

Take into consideration that this is general advice. For advice that is tailored to your unique situation, contact your local Motion Health practice to discuss your pre-season training goals.