Tips for Players

10 Tips for Preparing for a Road Trip

The four pillars of human performance are mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery.

By Terry Jacoby

When it comes to improving health and performance, a one-size-fits-all approach fits no one well. That’s why EXOS, a human performance company, created a platform for achievement that goes beyond sports performance, corporate fitness or traditional health care. They believe in connecting people to the things that are vital to their health — the ingredients they need to perform at a high level day after day.

The four pillars of human performance are mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery. EXOS was designed to create an environment, whether physical or virtual, that helps people feel safe, supported, and in control of their health.

While many of the greatest athletes in the world are supported by EXOS, their programs and platforms can be designed to fit anyone’s goals.

Erika Sharp, RD, CSSD, is the director of nutrition for Pro/Elite Sports. She understands how difficult it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle for families on the move, especially for families traveling to soccer tournaments every weekend.

Sharp provided a list for FUEL Soccer of 10 things families can do to stay healthy while on the road.

BRING A WATER BOTTLE. Hydration is a huge part of daily life and athletic performance so it makes sense that this is No. 1. Pack a refillable water bottle (ideally with some insulation) so you can fill up often.

PACK A COOLER WITH A SEPARATE CONTAINER FOR ICE. Game days and especially tournaments turn into very long days, typically in warm environments. Pack a cooler to keep your beverages cold and snacks safe from food-borne illnesses. Adding a separate container dedicated for ice for your drinks takes it to the next level.

REQUEST A ROOM WITH A FRIDGE AND MICROWAVE. As simple as this sounds, most hotel rooms do not have these standard. Call ahead and make sure you have these in your room.

RESEARCH THE AREA. Locate and identify the following within a 10-minute drive from your hotel or soccer complex for those last-minute trips:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Gas Stations
  • Sandwich Stops
  • Healthy Food Stores

A successful game day always starts with a solid breakfast and most youth have their go-to foods or must-have choices. Make sure you pack these with you or locate a place where you can get a complete breakfast for your stars. Aim for a lean protein, healthy fat (avocado, nut butters, nuts/seeds), lots of grains/starches (cereal, bagels, oatmeal), and fruit (dried, fresh, or as juice). Grains, starches and fruit are your child’s fuel so make sure they load up on their favorites in a natural/unprocessed way to give them energy all day long.

SNACKS! SNACKS! SNACKS! This is a big one and can come in many different forms. It is important to have options depending on what mood, mindset or need your athlete has. Pre-packaged snacks are readily available at grocery stores and most gas stations. Stock up on these easy grab-n-go items, like: cheese sticks, yogurt, pretzels, bars (protein and granola), fruit cups, apple sauce, beef jerky, and trail mix. Whole fruit is great because it comes in its own wrapper, popular choices are grapes, apples, oranges and bananas. Half time or between games are key opportunities to add more fuel or start the recovery process. Peanut butter balls, PB&Js, and sandwiches are quick ways to get them ready for their next move.

STAY AWAY FROM FATTY FOODS. These are readily available at the complex and what hungry/under-fueled bodies crave since they pack a ton of calories in a small bite. These foods digest slowly and leave you feeling sluggish, which doesn’t turn into a ‘W’ at the end of the day.

RECOVERY ITEMS. These days you hear that performance is really all about how well you recover. Make sure you have the 3 “R’s” to plan for recovery.

  • Re-fuel your mind and body with carbohydrates.
  • Re-build your muscles and immune system with protein.
  • Re-hydrate your body with fluids.

A quick way to accomplish all three is chocolate milk, which can be found at all gas stations or even purchased as a shelf-stable option and then chilled in your cooler. Tart Cherry Juice is another option that the professionals use. It doesn’t taste sweet like most juices, but packs a ton of antioxidants, helps to decrease muscle soreness, and promotes better quality sleep.

VARIETY PACKS. Tournament weekends can be long days and having some variety can make all the difference. Try out the variety packs of different bars, sports drinks, fruits, and snack mixes to help excite the fueling process for you and your players.

PLASTIC SILVERWARE AND PAPER TOWELS. This is another one of those next-level tips for the veteran tournament goers. Having a few on hand will allow for different snack options or make the distribution/clean-up process easier.