As a former athlete, I know first hand the struggles of staying in shape during the off season. After training so hard for months, giving your life to the sport, it is tempting to rest and relax for a few weeks, even months. However, college sports usually do not allow for this. With the constant need to stay conditioned, in shape and on top of your game, I turned to Division III Fredonia State Swimming senior, Charley Arrigo for advice.
Courtney: How do you deal with eating in the offseason? Do you totally let go, or still watch what you eat?
Charley Arrigo: It’s always in the back of my mind that when I’m going to a fast food joint or anywhere, that I have the guilt in my head that I shouldn’t be doing it. I do my best to ‘grab the yogurt’ instead.
Courtney: What do your eating habits tend to look like during the season?
CA: During the heavy training times I eat as much as I want because I know that I’m doing so much yardage and I’m burning so many calories that the last thing I want to do is make sure my body isn’t loosing energy because of the fact that I’m not eating enough. When we start the end of season championship competition, my eating habits change. A lot of milk and eggs, because eggs will help your body recover because of the glutamine. I drink chocolate milk because it’s supposed to be one of the best recovery drinks in sports.
Courtney: How does this differ from the off season?
CA: When I’m in the off season I worry about not putting on weight. I’m conscious of my eating.
Courtney: What is your practice like during the season? Does it affect your appetite?
CA: On average I burn about 2,000 calories a day in swim practice. After the 2,000 calories of practice, your appetite is never satisfied and there’ll be times when you could probably eat 3-4 plates and still the desire to eat even more. Once the off season comes, its difficult to eat the same amount of food.
Courtney: What do you do during the off season, activity wise, to keep in shape? What do you focus on the most?
CA: During the off season, I take about a month off to let my body recover. After that, I slowly work myself back in to doing about three times a week [of swimming] and then by summer I’m in full off-season training mode, probably 4-5 times a week. I’ll be in the weight room 3-5 times a week working on all the muscle groups that will help me in the pool. A lot of pushups and sit ups for my core, and attacking my legs as much as possible.
Courtney: Do you have any advice for athletes coming off their season?
CA: I feel awful when I’m not working out during the off season, because I know it’s so much time spent of me not getting better. It’s time that I will never get back. I would encourage people to never go under three times a week not doing some type of workout. It comes down to what that persons goals are, what they want to accomplish and their own drive.