Atlanta United is partnering with Piedmont in an offseason series hosted by Ryan Alexander, the club’s Director of Sports Science. In each episode of the four-part series, Alexander walks us through a different area of offseason recovery.
Episode four dives into healthy habits.
In parts one and two, Alexander showed concepts and methods of strength training and conditioning that help players keep fit through the offseason. Then, the third part explained recovery methods. The final phase of the process involves healthy habits.
The main habit is nutrition, which Alexander puts a significant focus on during the offseason. He and his team work to guide players on the right path so players can enjoy time with family and friends, indulge in wonderful meals, and participate in habits they might restrict themselves from during the strict regimen of a competitive season.
“One of the most powerful things we can do for our players is offer support and be a resource during the offseason to help them find solutions for where they can workout or where they can go for a run when that is necessary,” Alexander said.
Under Alexander’s guidance, players are asked to be mindful of their activity level. The offseason is meant to be a time with lower activity levels, so players need to be mindful when they have days of higher intensity. On days like that, Alexander’s plan supports players with nutrition of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to balance out the energy needs of each of those sessions.
On lower intensity days, recovery days or off days, Alexander guides players with an individualized program that allows them to have parameters on their meals. But Alexander makes sure not to make those parameters too restricting.
“We’ll never look to neglect those holiday time periods and those wonderful meals that they can have during the offseason,” Alexander said.
The most important part for the players during the offseason is communication. Alexander wants players to communicate clearly whenever there are any issues so he and his team can help find solutions.
"We as a staff work hard to communicate early with our players so that they can have the information necessary to be successful during the offseason," he said. "Following the hours of preparation and programming and the initial communication about the program with the players, we make sure to give them their space."
Watch the video to see Alexander’s explanation of healthy offseason habits: