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Keys to Pre-Season Success

pre-season
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Pre-Season, arguably the most important time of the year for competitive sportspeople. As we start to head towards the start of a new season for many sports; Football, Rugby, Hockey et al, we look at how to structure our training and nutrition to optimise our results throughout the next 6 months and how we at BULK POWDERS®, support this process.

Balancing your training

I am fortunate enough to work with some of the most determined and hardworking athletes in the UK. This is an important factor in pre-season success; if you don’t want to hurt, to grow, to progress – you simply will not.

Finding a balance in pre-season preparation is crucial to manipulate your body to perform, when and how you would like it to. If you are a Rugby player; developing cardiovascular fitness is important, but similarly – you simply cannot play rugby at the highest level if you are built like a marathon runner. The same principles apply to most sports – when I am working with a footballer, we are looking to develop our type 2 fibres and increase strength by around 15% in a 10-week period, but similarly – without cardiovascular fitness, you are an incomplete player.

Needless to say, mobility is a crucial element of a pre-season programme.  Whilst the body is being pushed beyond its normal parameters, lactic acid is being produced. This is a poisonous byproduct of training and needs to be circulated and excreted. Stretching will enable the circulation of this byproduct and will help reduce DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) in the post workout days.

We stretch at every session – if you want to learn more about stretching, why not try Huw Roberts guide. Most importantly, stretching is a key factor in injury prevention whilst we are exposed to an elevated risk of injury.

Training structure

Please remember, stretching takes place at EVERY session.

Weight Training

Whilst we are trying to gain 15% of strength at our pre-season, your own goals should be set accordingly. You may be strong but lack cardiovascular fitness – prioritise accordingly, not necessarily what you enjoy most.

  1. 3 sessions a week – allowing plenty of rest
  2. Focus on core exercise
  3. Always follow with a rest day/cardio day
  4. Tailor a program for you and your body – based on a 5 rep max – set goals of where you want to finish
  5. Train hard, but know when to stop – injury is detrimental to the rest of the season

Cardiovascular Training

Our athletes are monitored – we know where they are physically and we know the times that they run certain distances in.  We get to a high level of cardiovascular readiness and we maintain that good level – whilst we are gaining strength, we monitor cardiovascular levels to ensure there is no regression.  For footballers, we work on 2km runs for time, 3 times with a 2-minute rest between runs, this is approximately the distance they cover during competitive fixtures. Each player has individual times; benchmarking – all 3 times must come in under 10 minutes.

  1. 2 sessions a week – intense but relevant to the sport
  2. Measureable sessions – know your level
  3. Increase training volume if cardiovascular is weak
  4. Be aware of your own body – if your knees struggle, maintain in the pool or a reduced impact activity.

Rest

A crucial element of training is quality rest. Athletes under my programming must aim for 8 hours quality sleep every night. We also use the swimming pool as a reduced impact recovery day. Stretching both statically in the water and utilising PNF outside of the pool is also a staple element of pre-season.

Nutrition

Water

On training days, I demand at least 2 litres of water/electrolyte consumption, regardless of the weather. This is easy to monitor using the half gallon water bottle. Water is an imperative tool for the removal of lactic acid and the digestion of enzymes for recovery; i.e. protein and carbohydrates. No bottle – no training.

Fuel

Prior to training, my recommendation is a 3:1 – 3:2 carbohydrate/protein split. By preloading a protein source, we begin the recovery process earlier and minimise fibre damage (beyond microtears for growth). A slow release carbohydrate around an hour prior gives the best possible chance for an optimal training session – protein porridge is a great split at a 3:2 ratio. Whilst weight training, amino acids are consumed to begin the reparation process as early as possible. ENDURE™ is an optimal 4:1:1 ratio ideal to enhance recovery throughout an intense session. Whilst my athletes are doing an intense cardio, we move away from the amino acid based intra workout and look more at an electrolyte based product such as Complete Hydration Drink™ which contains an array of carbohydrates which can help to provide a source of energy throughout training.

Recovery

When we train, we create thousands of microtears in our muscles. If we do not fuel ourselves with the correct nutrition, all the hard work put in throughout the workout will leave these microtears to either: stay ripped and expose us to injury, or repair slowly to the level they were previously at. By supplementing with a protein based drink, it enables optimum conditions for growth post workout; regardless of your goals. If you have torn type 1 aerobic fibres, they will recover stronger, as will type 2 fibres.

Protein is not a myth, it doesn’t mysteriously make you stronger, bigger or faster – it simply enhances the recovery period. If you do not train well or push hard, protein will simply be used as an energy source. Pure Whey Protein™ is an affordable protein with over 80% pure protein content and a great taste.

Depending on body fat % and recovery rates of athletes, a carbohydrate powder could also be used amongst protein – a combination of Dextrose and Maltodextrin gives ample energy to help fuel a post workout window and recovery.

It is important to remember that hard work and investment now, will be crucial 3, 4, 5 months down the line.

Sport is not as simple as being talented, talent and attitude combined is what will bring true success. Put in the effort and you will get your reward.

References

Strength & Conditioning Journal: June 2003 – Volume 25 – Issue 3 – ppg 48-49 SPORTS SUPPLEMENTS

Antonio J., Sanders M., Van Gammeren D. (2001) The effects of bovine colostrums supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in active men and women. Nutrition 17, 243-247

Dangin M., Boirie Y., Guillet C., Beaufrere B. (2002) Influence of the protein digestion rate on protein turnover in young and elderly subjects. Journal of Nutrition 132, 3228S-3233S

Geiser M. (2003) The wonders of whey protein. NSCA’s Performance Training Journal 2, 13-15

Ha E., Zemel M.B. (2003) Functional properties of whey, whey components, and essential amino acids: mechanisms underlying health benefits for active people. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 14, 251-258

About the Author

Peter Beaumont is a BSC Sports Science and Nutrition specialist with over 8 years of experience working with professional and amateur athletes. He now co-ordinates the strength and conditioning programme at a Private Football Academy working with athletes from across the world up to premier league standard.

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