WinforKCWed: Care and Feeding of Your Athlete's Body

Now that you're an athlete, I hope you give yourself the star treatment that your athlete's body deserves?

What's that, you say? You're not an athlete yet? Well, if you're not an athlete when you start training for a triathlon, I would sure like to know where the magic line is where you become one.

I do think that pampering your body as an athlete's body can help you pull together not only some confidence in what you're doing but can help you find untapped resources of energy and stress resistance.

So here goes.

1) Rest and sleep. Ha! Bet that's not what you thought #1 was going to be. You're taxing your body with new demands. Give it a little extra rest time. Give it a little more sleep. Move around most days, but when you rest, rest like you mean it. Your muscles get stronger when they recover, not when they're working.

2) Stretch. After you work out, take another 5 or 10 minutes to stretch your muscles. You'll be preventing injury and gaining flexibility. And it feels good. Spoil yourself. Stretch.

3) Hydrate. Drink water. H2O.

4) Fuel yourself like an athlete. Food can be a lot of great things. But when you are training, it is fuel. When you choose food, think whether it is giving you nutrients — vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins. Consider your carbs. Is there a carb choice (vegetables, fruit) that can give you more nutritional bang for the buck? Start filling your plate there. Opt last for the food that gives you less nutrition. I don't care how few calories it has or whether it has fiber. I don't care what it DOESN'T have in it. Is it high-quality fuel?

And that's it. Sleep, Stretch, Hydrate, Fuel. Your body is now a performance vehicle — go ahead and treat it like the luxury it is!

Hope you have a great week training. In March, I'll be writing about cycling and running — about getting over some of the hurdles and dealing with some of your new realities as a triathlete in those two sports.