Here’s the Game Plan: Athletes, beware of holiday break

Sports Editor Emily Stancliff is an athlete with a mission: to inform you, the sports community, about your bad habits. “Here’s the Game Plan” will give readers advice about everything and anything, ranging from fuel food to keeping your “cool” during a rough game.


Winter. Cookies. Relaxation. Tsk. Tsk. All false hopes for athletes. While the holidays sweep everyone else into a frenzy of excitement, the holidays present a challenge for all people that play a sport.

As you probably know, these next two weeks of down-time will be seriously detrimental to your built-up cardio and strength conditioning. Therefore, we must be wary of these holidays that threaten to disrupt our daily schedules. We must combat them with the simple, but more powerful device of… a schedule (oh my!).

I know, you just got out of school and you’re looking forward to some unstructured relaxation time, but if you are seriously dedicated to your sport, then you must make some sacrifices. There is nothing worse than feeling out of shape when you come back from break, but this can easily be avoided with a little structure and planning.

The first step to staying on top of your game is to wake up at a reasonable time to fit in your workout. Sorry, but sleeping in until 11 in the morning will not cut it. In my experience, early mornings are the best work-out times simply because afterwards you are no longer dreading having to work out, and you have practically the rest of the day to yourself.  

Secondly, make sure that you are keeping physically active throughout the day. Keep yourself busy with simple projects like cleaning your room, which will help you feel that you have accomplished something worthwhile. The idea is to keep yourself preoccupied with meaningful tasks and keep your mind content rather than restless.

Probably the best advice of all time, although hardly ever listened to, is to limit the time you spend on the computer or phone. It is alright every once in a while to take a break and relax, but long hours spent binge-watching Netflix shows is not conducive to healthy habits. It will only make you more susceptible to abandoning your schedule.

And finally, I come to the last piece of advice: make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day and eat a consistent, healthy diet. I have found that multiple small meals a day along with regular water intake helps to improve your metabolism and leaves you feeling more full than three large meals a day. And yes, those cookies are definitely off limits.

Emily Stancliff is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and