NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Training Tips for Former Athletes: Stay Fit and Motivated

MasieI recently ended my rugby career at Indiana University. I had been playing for 9 years, and competed in various other sports before that. Until now, I have always had a coach scheduling practices and creating workouts for me, and have always pushed myself to my limits for the team.

If you've played sports your whole life but now you are in the real world with other responsibilities and time constraints that did not exist when you were an athlete, you may start to lose your strength and endurance. You may have even noticed changes in your body due to your lifestyle change. You want to stay in shape or get back in shape, but you are unsure where to start or what to do. 

Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to train as a former athlete.

  • Acknowledge that you are no longer a competitive athlete. You are now a former athlete. This is a hard step to take because in your heart you will always be an athlete. You are just no longer a part of a team or competition, and that is okay. 
  • Create new goals for yourself that pertain to your life now. Back in college or high school, you trained a lot, and you trained hard. You had a deadline to be in shape before your first game. However, this mindset may not work now with your new lifestyle. You need to set new goals, which can include cardiovascular training like running or biking. Or your goal could be to lose weight or fat. Your goal can even simply be to maintain a certain overall fitness level. 
  • Train better, not harder. During athletic training you were told to run more, lift more, and practice more in order to be the best and win. This mindset and form of training may have worked then, but that doesn't necessarily mean it works now. You need to train better and more efficiently. Training better is easier to maintain and accomplish than trying to train as hard as you did before. But how do you know you are training better, when all you have known is how to train hard?
Join a Training Program

Many gyms offer training programs for marathons or triathlons or even weight loss. What is great about these programs is that they have coaches that create workouts and guide you through them. You will work alongside others in the program and can get the feeling of being part of a team. Here at NIFS we offer a variety of training programs

Find a Personal Trainer

If you are interested in working on your own, but still feel that you need more guidance, look into personal training. Trainers offer you the accountability that coaches and practices did. Personal trainers can help create new goals for you and lead you through specific, efficient programs. 

Working Out on Your Own

If you need help finding a starting point, here are some tips and examples you can use to help. You'll want to focus on full-body, multi-joint lifts. 

Here are examples of some exercises you can use as the basis of your workouts:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts
  • Rows
  • Pull-ups
  • Pushups

Choose a few to perform for each workout. You can alternate between 2 and 3 days per week, performing 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each. 

When performing cardio, a great goal is to try to complete at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each week. For example, you can complete five 30-minute sessions of cardio each week. You can also perform them on the same day as your strength training. 

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In the end, take time to find what works best for you at this time in your life. Training like you did when you were an athlete isn't always what works. Explore your options, and find what you like to do now. 

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This blog was written by Masie Duncan, Health Fitness Instructor and Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: cardio motivation accountability NIFS programs endurance strength personal training team training

Sports and Character: 5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned Playing Football

152141547The fall season is probably my favorite time of year. The weather is just how I like it, crisp and comfortable during the day and cool at night. The colors that arrive with the turning of the leaves are a demonstration of how creative Mother Nature can be. There is another phenomenon that takes place during this time of year that I anticipate all summer long, and that is FOOTBALL!

This is the time of year that all levels, from peewee to the pros, are padding up and participating in a game that I have loved and played my entire life. I took my first snap when I was 5, and the game has been a part of my life ever since. From the time I was an undersized defensive lineman, a coach, and now as a super fan, football has provided so many fond memories and learning opportunities.

With football in full swing, I find myself thinking of the times I spent in two-a-day practices, Friday night games, and early Saturday film sessions. Flash forward to my time as a coach of some very talented young men as they got started on their football journey as I did so long ago. Through all of these experiences and all of these years being around the game of football, I have learned so much about so many aspects of life that I have carried with me, and which has had tremendous impact on my life. Lessons of character, hard work, and being part of something bigger than yourself are ones that I would have never learned in a classroom. I would like to share with you the top 5 lessons I have learned from being around this great sport of football.

Setting Goals

Preseason was a time to set goals for what we wanted to accomplish as a team for that season. We would usually post these in some fashion that acted as reminder of what we were working so hard for. This was a very important step toward our success and I was lucky enough to have coaches who held the standard of knowing what you want to accomplish, writing it down, and keeping it visible. Of course my goals are much different these days, but the process is still the same. Write down your goals and make them visible as a daily reminder of where you want to go.

Be On Time

This should go without saying: punctuality says a great deal about you as an individual. A huge lesson I learned is that you don’t let coach beat you to the practice field. You were to be strapped up and ready to go at the start of practice, or you were given a choice of “up/downs” (you know these as burpees) or “gassers.” Either one was not very fun in full gear. To this day, I get pretty anxious if I feel I may be late for whatever it may be. I learned long ago that it is always better to be waiting on whoever I am meeting with—not the other way around. Burpees still are not very fun!

The Bigger the Dream, the Better the Team

During my last season as player, our team was nicknamed “The Dirty 30,” and it was a name we embraced fully. This name had nothing to do with us playing “dirty”; it illustrated our small team of 30 varsity players doing what it took as a team to reach our pinnacle. We all played a role in any successes—or failures, for that matter. We embraced that responsibility as a team, and we worked together to make us better. What I learned then is something that is apparent to me every day: you can’t do it alone. I talk a great deal about forming your “Power Circle” and using those like-minded individuals to help you succeed in life in any capacity. Making the others around you better and being more excited about their successes than your own will always pay huge dividends.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Mistake

“Fly around and don’t be afraid to make a mistake” was a phrase I heard a lot during my days as a player. Being in your head too much and holding back for fear of missing an assignment or failing usually led to missing that assignment and failing. More importantly, it would rob you of the opportunity to learn. I learned a huge lesson in those days, that success is a result of failing. In his book Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, John Maxwell defines adversity as the catalyst of learning, and problems are opportunities of learning. If you blow an assignment on one play, in a matter of seconds you get the opportunity to learn from that mistake and not commit it again on the next play. That’s learning, and it’s that learning that leads to success. Mistakes are inevitable in life, but growth is optional. Don’t shy away from risk; embrace it.

Being Yelled at Is a Good Thing

One of the biggest lessons I learned playing the sport I love so much is that when coach is yelling at you, it’s a good thing. I remember being told a few times that when coach stops yelling at you, that’s when you should be worried. At the time, I thought my coach was crazy for saying that, because it was never fun when coach got inside your facemask and ripped your head off.

But soon after leaving the game and moving on with my life, I realized what my coaches meant. They believed that I was better than I was performing at that particular moment, and they were not going to let me quit or be satisfied with mediocrity. So when coaches would stop yelling at you, it meant that you might have peaked and their help would more than likely not make you better. I know it may sound weird, but I think it’s okay to be told “you suck” (not actually, of course) from time to time. It gives you a little knot in your stomach, and it’s that knot that makes you want to be better. I think it’s when we lose that knot in our stomachs that we have, at some level, given up. If you have lost that knot in your stomach, reevaluate some things and find a coach to call you out now and again.

There are countless other lessons I gained from playing the great game of football. These are the top five that, without learning them, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have thus far. Nor would I understand that learning and growing are no way near over. I hope you were able to gather some takeaways from the lessons I have described. If nothing else, please leave with this: Never Be Satisfied!

To see how NIFS can help you train for any competitive sport, click here to learn more.

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, Health Fitness Specialist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: motivation goal setting attitude mental team training sports

Slim It to Win It: Shelli's Hard Bellies

This is my first year being a Slim-it to Win–It coach and my team, Shelli’s Hard Bellies, and I are having a blast!shelli-team-picture  Over the past several weeks we have had some ups and downs with teammates being sick and/or injured but no one has given up!

During this program I have tried to spice up each workout utilizing the equipment all over the gym. My team hasn’t loved the sleds at times but understands the importance and major benefits of them.

One of my favorite workouts I have done with Shelli’s Hard Bellies is the DOC (Desk of Cards) workout or “The Card Game.” I love this because it is fun to do and can be done with any age and ability level. It is also a great way to mix strength training and cardio into one kick butt workout.

Start with a deck of cards and give each suit an exercise.  Have fun with this, you could choose all body weight exercises, all strength exercises or list two options for each suit. 

Examples are as follow:
Diamonds: Push Ups
Spades: Goblet Squats (Add Jump)
Hearts: TRX or Barbell Row
Clubs: Push Press

When it comes to the face cards, either simply make Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13 & Ace=14 or make it even harder! I usually do the indicated amounts plus extra exercises on top of it all. Face card are worth more so why wouldn’t they be the hardest part of the workout.  Slim-It-logo2

The last time we played I made Ace the exercise listed above PLUS jog 1 lap around the In door track, King, as listed, PLUS 30 seconds of plank, Queen, as listed, PLUS 30 seconds of Mt. Climbers, leaving Jack as listed, PLUS 10 Burpees. I left the jokers in there too and that indicated a small rest period where the team could grab some water.

Needless to say, this was a tough workout but they loved it! I plan to do the DOC workout again before the end of the program but all the exercises will be different so ensure the element of surprise!


Thanks, Hard Bellies, for working hard throughout this entire program!
I hope to see you all consistently after Slim-it to Win-it wraps up to ensure continued results.

Training with a group is a proven strategy for sticking with a workout routine and is more economical than one-on-one training. If you are interested in trying a small group or large group training session contact Tony Maloney today to get started!

This blog was written by Shelli Kopetsky, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.
 

Topics: exercise weight loss workout personal training team training