What's the first thing you do when you get home from school? If you're like
most teens, you raid the refrigerator. But snacking on the wrong foods can add
unwanted calories and make you even hungrier when mealtime rolls around. Eating
snacks low in nutritional value does nothing to make you smarter or stronger,
either. The key is to choose healthy snacks that will fill you up and help
nourish you without adding too many calories.
First things first. Before the season even starts, you should already be in shape.
“A lot of youth don’t think they need to get in shape,” says James Chesnutt, MD, a sports medicine specialist at Oregon Health & Sciences University. “They are couch potatoes right up to the first day of practice.”
Don’t let that be you. Practice is going to put a lot of strain on your muscles. Games are even more intense. You have to be prepared. Think about baseball. If you’re a pitcher and your arm isn’t up to the task, your game might not be the only thing to suffer. A weak arm is an easily injured arm.
Chesnutt, who coaches teen sports in Portland, Ore., tells his players that they need to start working out six weeks prior to the season, putting in an hour’s worth of exercise a day (something everyone should be doing already). That means a mix of lifting, cardio training, and active play that revs your heart.