Well, a few things were said to me in the past few weeks. Two of the things came from a couple of my younger clients, and the other came from my son. They were all related to the above heading. Staying active, which I tell many of my non-athlete clients, is much different than staying or getting in shape as an athlete. Many of my non-athlete clients are looking to maybe shed a few pounds, try to keep up with their kids, or feel good when they go for a walk at night. As we get older and less active, many of those things become harder to do, mainly because inactivity sets in. The non-athletic population just needs to stay active. Walking, gardening, etc. For the young athlete, on the other hand, staying active just isn't good enough if he/she wants to do well and be even a little bit competitive in sports, including hockey, tennis, soccer, lacrosse and the list goes on.
I use to be able to lift this easy, how come it's so hard, now?
I had my three sons at the gym yesterday and my one son goes to me "I use to be able to lift this easy, how come it's so hard, now?". Though he has been active, he is not in the same shape he was in a month ago. This is because he has fallen into the trap of thinking just being physically active is good enough. Active youth are in the very fortunate position of even when they're not in as good as shape as they'd like to be, they are still in great shape and it doesn't take long to get back to the level they're used to. Hockey players are back on the ice, soccer sessions are going, track athletes are back to practice and all the athletes should now find it a tad easier to stay in shape.
That leads me to what two of my young hockey players said to me. They were back on the ice and each one said how much the training has helped and they notice a difference, comparing themselves to their peers. Like I said above, keeping active is one thing....staying in game shape is a whole other ball game.
I know all the teammates of these hockey players were staying active, but proper training can, in fact, make you better! There are different ways to get in better shape. You need to start getting in what they call "game shape". Depending on what sport you're training for and want to be in shape for will depend on what you're doing to get in that "game shape". Let's take a look at a few different sports and what being in shape means for that particular sport.
The difference between aerobic and anaerobic activity.
say quickly because it is a topic for a whole other article, but it needs to be discussed if you're going to train properly for your sport. In simplest terms, aerobic activity means with oxygen and anaerobic means without oxygen. For aerobic activity, think a long run, maybe a 10k. For anaerobic activity, think the 100m sprint. The average team sport is anaerobic, though some believe aerobic training can aid in recovery.
Now that we know we need to get in good anaerobic shape, the first step is complete. The second step, getting in the best shape for your sport, can be a little more complicated. This is when work to rest ratios need to be addressed. Hockey, for example, you're shift length is an average of 45sec. You then go off to the bench and rest for 3min. So, you would think a good tool might be to sprint for 45sec and rest for 3min. Well, not quite. In that 45sec shift, you aren't skating full out for that entire time. You go hard, relax, go hard, relax, go hard, and then go off. Training should reflect that. Try sprinting hard for 5sec, jog for 10sec, repeat that for 1min, and then take a 2-3min break. Do that drill about 5-8 sets near the end of your workout and you will find yourself in much better "game shape".
How about boxing?
Boxers have always been considered to be one of the best-conditioned athletes. Yes, you need to be in shape to punch and move. The thing that many people forget is that someone else is trying to punch you, too. The work to rest ratio is a little different than hockey. At the professional level, the round is 3-minutes long with a 1-minute rest in between rounds. Depending on what level you're at, you can go anywhere from 4 to 12 rounds. Proper conditioning for this sport might be similar to the above drill, except longer with shorter rest. Try sprinting hard for 5sec, jog for 10sec, repeat for 3min and then relax for 30-45sec.
All sports are different and should be treated differently in terms of getting in "game shape". Be aware of the work to rest ratios of your sport. So, don't just be active...TRAIN!!