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The Gifts That Keep On Giving: Athlete Edition

Tis the season for gift giving and receiving! When it comes to gifts, the most valuable gifts have no price tag attached! Get the keys to the most valuable gifts and set yourself apart from your competition and be the best athlete you can be. 

Gifts that Keep on Giving

Drum roll, please!  Sometimes the best gifts we can give are free.  

Here is our top list of gifts that keep on giving this holiday season to set you up with success in your athletic career. 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Assessments 

An athlete makes it to the next level. It is easy to think, “I made it to the higher level by doing what I’ve always been doing, so I’m not going to change now.” 

Hold up, pause and rethink!

Sometimes talent can bring someone to the next level, but talent alone won’t make an athlete the best.  It is so important to put faith into the professional coaches and trainers and really evaluate and question the assessments they do.  

Researchers dedicate their whole life to finding the best ways to train hard AND smart, so listen. The habits an athlete may have been doing forever may be good, but why not be great? (1)

Don’t Sleep on Sleep

This one is so overlooked, and the truth is, the only person that can make sleep a priority is yourself.  Teammates and friends may not value this, but it doesn’t mean that their actions have to impact yours. 

Insufficient sleep can be detrimental to performance.  It can decrease reaction time, impair eating habits, and impair recovery,  leading to a higher risk of injury and less playing time. 

If falling asleep or having restful sleep is a struggle, check yourself first.  Is the diet high in inflammatory foods?  Are you deficient in vitamins or minerals, such as magnesium? Is alcohol or caffeine impacting the sleep cycle? A dietitian can help get to the root of the problem to fix this.(2)

Invest in your Team

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Spending time with like-minded people can only bring a person closer to goals whereas individuals that don’t offer value may be holding a person back.

What is most important to you?  Investing in teammates and like-minded people will lift you up and help you get to the next level.  If a person is serious about their athletic career, make it a priority to put the right people in your corner to help preserve professional worth and availability. (3)

Fuel Like an Athlete

I see it time and time again.  An athlete finally makes it to college ball or even the pros, but has never had education or help with eating.  I may be biased, (lol RD here) but nutrition is the most important overlooked factor. 

Simple things like ensuring adequate protein is consumed or fueling correctly before an event is a GAME CHANGER. Meeting with a dietitian can help determine where a diet is lacking and correct imbalances that will significantly impact performance. In addition to fuel, hydration is also often overlooked. 

Hydration can be your difference maker, even in cooler temperatures. Research shows us that dehydration can significantly impair performance and it only takes >2% fluid loss to do that. (4)


Ever have those days where there is no energy and weights that felt easy last week feel like bricks now?  Good chance that nutrition, hydration, sleep, or a combo of all 3 were off the day before. 

Make it a priority to give these free gifts that keep on giving so you can reach your highest potential. 

Written By: Francine HoffmaCSCS, NSCA-CPT

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