As our "boys of fall" begin practices again before those friday night lights turn back on, it's crucial that their bodies be as prepared as possible for the affects associated with such a strenuous routine.
Carbs and proteins are going to be essential to rebuild the tissues that inevitably break down from exercise. Two-a-days are meant to maximize the time spent prior to the start of the season, meaning coaches are trying to improve your strength, speed, and confidence as much as possible to start off the season on a good note. The only way to build tissue is to break it down, first - meaning workouts will be difficult. It's crucial that you increase the calorie count when the workout routine increases, as well - by as many as an extra 1,500 calories (on average) per day, depending upon the workout and the athlete's body type. Make sure to get proteins and carbs in your system within 2 hours of finishing a workout, but your body is most efficient at allowing proteins and carbs into your cells within the first 45 minutes. Not only will your body recover faster when you're well-fed, but keeping the energy stores in your body plentiful helps to improve the duration you can withstand a workout at such a high level.
2. Drink - and don't drink
Athletes of all ages: staying hydrated is so important. Keeping electrolytes in your system by means of gatorade or pedialyte (for quick replenishment), and drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help you to stay hydrated during those long days out on the practice field and in the weight room. It's hard to hold a practice and manage thirst in full padding in 100+ degree heat for coaches; to keep athletes properly hydrated, they'd need to allow water breaks every 10 minutes or less. This turns into an extremely inefficient practice, which is why it helps to seriously manage hydration when not in practice.
Collegiate athletes, on the other hand, also need to limit their alcohol consumption during, and leading up to the start of two-a-day practices to help keep them hydrated and firing on all cylinders. One episode of binge drinking just about wipes out all progress made in 2 weeks worth of workouts, physically, and the aftermath of a binge drinking makes maintaining mental focus very difficult.
Get plenty of rest. Adjusting to such an extreme amount of high level physical activity will wipe you out - and it's crucial that athletes accommodate their sleep schedule to help reduce fatigue in the days following. Sleep is when your body does most of it's healing - and you will need time to heal and recover to be able to make it through the next day, let alone the next couple of weeks.
4. Take Advantage of Breaks
Any breaks you're given during a workout - take them. Instead of having to run to drink out of a fountain, keep a large water bottle with you to help you minimize time spent running to get to and from the drinking fountain.
5. Know Your Body
When you realize you're beginning to severely overheat, back off of a workout. It's imperative that you listen to your body. We understand that most coaches are tough on their players, and therefore, expect them to finish the workouts and only take breaks when allotted with the entire team. The best thing you can do in these situations is back off whatever you're doing; whether it be running, burpees, lifting, etc. by slowing down your pace, lifting a little bit less weight, or taking more time to recover between sets.
6. Talk to the Coach
Need an excuse for a break? Go talk to your athletic trainer about a stretch for an "old injury" or a "cramp" or go talk to a coach about something he may want you to do. This will give you some time to recover while still being productive.