It felt a little like the movie “Groundhog’s Day” this week for me; Three different athletes, three different sports, male & female, but the same topic kept coming up each time, fueling the engine. Each one of these athletes excel in their given sport but are challenged with fueling their engines with the proper fuel to perform at their very best. Each conversation ended up well but I wanted to make sure I didn’t come off as a parent lecturing my own child. Humor is the best way for me to communicate sometimes… I was a high school runner that ate horrible foods but still seemed to find a way to win a lot of races. My pre-race regiment consisted of the same three things; huge pancake breakfast, wearing my lucky green calf-high socks, and a McRib/large fries/Mountain Dew precisely 2 hours before my race. Hey, it worked…but if I only knew then what I know now, how many times have we said that?
Keeping it simple, I used the example of a race car. Each one of theses athletes looks like a Bugatti in my eyes; sleek & fast. With bad fuel, or even worse no fuel, a Bugatti is no better than a Yugo when it comes to performance. A Bugatti that is driven all day on poor fuel will not perform well when it is time to race. A Bugatti that that is driven all day on poor fuel and not-refueled 2 hours prior to race day will run out of gas during the race. A Bugatti that is given bad fuel 2 hours prior to race time will have all sorts of backfiring (digestive) issues.
It is never a good idea to give a teen-aged athlete too much to think about in one session. They went home thinking about themselves as Bugatti cars with the goal for the first week to recognize what is “good” fuel and what is “bad” fuel. It will be interesting when we meet next week to see what falls into each respective category. Although the McRib is a tasty sandwich I would have to put that into the bad fuel category!