You are a junior or a senior in high school.
You kept hearing all throughout your freshman and sophomore year that your junior year is supposed to be the most academically challenging year of your high school career.
You are pretty “advanced” in school, and are taking multiple AP classes, on top of a rigorous practice schedule that lasts several hours per day.
Classes are loaded, you have tests and assignments it seems every other week big with assignments due.
As soon as school is done, now it’s time for a practice and the coach expects you to be at the top of your game every single day. You are already beat from school, you may have some great practices, but you have to pull every ounce of your energy to make it happen.
After an hours long practice, now you must go home, and study for a few more hours for that AP exam coming up, keeping you well up past midnight, only getting a few hours of sleep only to repeat the cycle the next day.
You feel burned out.
Here are few tips to help you be at your strongest mentally and physically during the process:
1.) Eat Breakfast: For some reason or another, a lot of teenagers forgo breakfast, starting the day already on a depleted energy system. DON’T DO THIS! Your brain is a muscle that requires that energy to be as efficient as possible. On an empty stomach, you are not as mentally sharp. Even if it is something like a yogurt, granola, trail mix, fruit, make sure to eat something before starting the day so you can be sharp for the test, and sustain energy that will last you until your practice
2.) Maximize your Sleep: Yes not every night you will be able to get in bed at a decent time. When you do finally hit the hay, make every hour count. One way to do that is to eliminate screen time at least 30 minutes prior to bed. This way, you won’t stimulate your brain as much, and you can get to sleep faster, AND get into a deeper sleep, which promotes better restorative sleep.
3.) Increase Protein intake: Going to school, learning, test anxiety, stress, practice, working out, all put wear and tear on the body. Your muscles get broken down faster than they are getting built up. A lack of protein in the body will slow down the recovery process. Increasing protein intake through foods, or additional supplementation will aid, even speed up the recovery process. Eat more lean meats, take a high grade, research backed quality protein throughout the days. Specifically, immediately after intense activities like practice and or workouts.
4.) HYDRATE!!! Do not forget to nourish your body with it’s most basic need. Water. You might not feel it throughout the day, but when you are not drinking enough water, muscle performance starts to decrease. In a sense, when you are NOT hydrating, you are dehydrating yourself. This will affect your physical and mental performance. Keep a bottle with you throughout the day and set reminders to drink at set times. Make sure to be replenished before practice and immediately after.
5.) WORKOUT: Even if it is for only 20 minutes, try and get in some form of strength training. Stress from school and practice increases hormonal activities that break down muscle strength. Resistance training will not only slow down the process but MAKE you stronger. This should be a goal especially of you have maintain a high performance for sports as well. Try to make time for it. You will unfortunately feel the effects of NOT doing it once your season hits, and you aren’t able to maintain high performance throughout the season. Make sure to follow a structured system that progressively builds you up rather break you down EVERY time.
Try implementing these 5 strategies in your daily or weekly regimen so that you can maintain peak performance in the classroom, AND on the field without feeling worn down all the time because of a demanding high school schedule. If you would like additional specific advice from me, I’d love to help.