The secrets to surviving tournament season
It's tournament season for Roller Derby. I've played in a lot of tournaments over my 12-year derby career, all over the USA. I thought I'd write a little something for those of you who maybe new to this tournament thing or even for those who have done it a bunch but could do it a little better (and are looking to get the most out of your body).
Personally, I don't travel well and I get loads of anxiety during tournament weekends. I find it difficult to eat, sleep, and relax. It's because of this that I have developed some tricks of the trade to help me through tournament season.
Hydrate - Early and often!
Traveling can be both trying and exciting. Staying hydrated and eating complete meals can be tricky. Flying with out fluids doesn't mean flying with out water. I start my day with a full bottle of water and make sure I drink 1 - 2 before I get through security. Then I refill and drink another one waiting for the plane. I pack a full meal in my carry on, so I'm not eating fast food and I know I'm getting a full meal not just snacking.
Sleeping is the most important part of recovering between games. It's hard for me, in general, to sleep and even worse during tournament weekends. I make sure I'm in a room with people who like to go to sleep early. I load my phone with podcasts including my new favorite: Sleep With Me. My other favorite is This American Life. Nothing soothes me to sleep better than the sound of Ira Glass.
Before bed, I drink a cup of Tulsi Sweet Rose tea or anything with Chamomile, 500 mg of magnesium, and Melatonin. Magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxant it can help calm your muscles before bed and help prevent muscle cramping during games. Melatonin is the hormone released by your body at night to help you fall asleep. It doesn't last long but can help you get to sleep without feeling drowsy the next day. Try Puritan's Pride Premium Super Strength.
Recovering after games is key to performing for the whole weekend. Eating healthy balanced food is important and often difficult to do when your tournament is in the middle of suburbia and the healthiest take out is Chipotle. Immediately following games I drink a recovery shake of Almond Milk and Vega One. I like Vega because it's a whole food and at all the Whole Foods stores. I'm allergic to dairy so I stay away from that. If you aren't allergic to dairy, go for whole milk and what ever whole food shake you like. Stay away from skim milk and high sugar shakes. You'll burn through the sugar fast and fatigue. After that, I get a rotisserie chicken, sweet potatoes and a salad from the local grocery store.
There are a few supplements that are key for recovery and performance. B12 is great just before a game. B12 increases your red blood cell size to helps you carry oxygen. I love getting a shot on game day! There are many places that offer B12 happy hours. Research the area your tournament is in and see if you can find a place that does it. If a shot isn't available, take a sublingual (a supplement that absorbs under your tongue). It's quicker and easier to absorb, versus just swallowing it orally. Make sure you're getting a Methylcobalamin based B12 supplement. I like the Now line for B12.
Magnesium you take at night. It helps you sleep and helps your muscles relax. As an athlete, you should be taking magnesium to bowel tolerance or about 500mg a day.
Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Make sure you're taking this as a whole food supplement that also has black pepper in it. The black pepper is essential for the effectiveness of the turmeric. I like Turmeric MD as a brand as it has the black pepper in it.
Remember to take the time to take care of yourself during a tournament weekend, your body will thank you. If your needing some assistance with that I'll be offering acupuncture message and cupping at some of the tournaments so keep an eye out for me.