Weekend warriors: It’s time to shape up

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image Contributing blogger Troy Meyers is a certified personal trainer and sports conditioner with more than 10 years of experience. He owns Atlanta-based JockBoyLocker.com and contributes to the site’s Lockerroom Blog.

Warm weather is just around the corner. And with that, the winter’s couch potatoes will soon be up and ready to regain their status as weekend warriors.

For me, that means flag football. I’m a team captain with the National Flag Football League of Atlanta. We just had our preseason clinic and practice starts soon. For those weekend warriors that, like me, enjoy a game of flag football in Piedmont Park, here’s what you can to get conditioned for the upcoming season.

Speed is the most critical physical characteristic for success in football. Although body size is important, reaction time and strength can overcome differences in size.

To build strength, concentrate on performing squats, leg presses, bench presses, dead lifts, power cleans and other resisted exercises that improve the large muscle groups of the trunk and legs.

imageImproving physical fitness and drinking fluids before, during and after exercise are important in preparing for practice and competition in warm weather. Sports drinks provide carbohydrate energy and sodium, which can help minimize cramping. Emphasize salty foods during hot weather and cramp-prone players may need to add salt to their sports drinks.

Contusions, stingers, muscle strains, and sprains of the ankle and knee are the most common injuries in football. Year-round training for strength and skill is the best preventive measure.

Recommended diets for flag football players emphasize carbohydrates. Large players obviously require more calories and players at certain positions and with specific nutritional goals may require individual dietary modifications.

Now, get ready for the gridiron.

Have a fitness question you’d like Troy to answer here? {encode=”[email protected]” title=”Email us.”} Subject: Fitness.

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