self reflection

Young Athletes: A Healthy Mindset

We hear about it throughout every stage of our life. You need a strong and healthy mindset in order to succeed! It’s preached a lot today in sports about having mental toughness or the concept of visualization has really grown. These are all extremely important and will improve an athlete’s performance. There are a couple layers underneath mental toughness and visualization though.

As you have probably gathered by now, if you have kept up with my blogs or Underground Performace’s core message is the importance of confidence. It’s a layer to one of our 3 pillars here at The Underground Performance Institute.

But what are things that contribute to or destroy our confidence? Growth and Progress are huge factors that help boost our confidence. Perfectionism is the biggest confidence killer.

We crave having that feeling of mastery. If we are an athlete we desire to become an expert or master of our craft. If you are a business owner you continue to grow and progress to separate yourself as an expert from other people and companies in the industry…

Yet why do so many young kids lack confidence? One of the underlying reasons is their Mindset and for the purpose of this blog I am not talking about mindset in terms of overcoming physical fears…

I have witnessed and talked with thousands of kids and there are some common themes that would help them build a healthy mind and lead to greater levels of confidence!

Feeding Your Mind

You might have heard the phrase input in, input out and that is also very true with our minds…

But I want to discuss the fuel, the foods and liquids kids are feeding their brains today. More parents are busier and stressed than ever before and leads to so many families eating for convenience rather than eating for performance!

Not just athletic performance but performance in life! Performance to get outta the bed and head to school or work with high levels of energy…

Because energy management is one of the greatest gifts you can pass along to your children.

There are so many studies and data on the direct correlation between the foods we eat and how our brain functions. 

And how our brain functions plays a critical role in determining how healthy our minds operate. It’s another huge reason why kids are becoming more stressed, anxious and depressed than any other generation prior!

As Dr. Eva Selhub says, “When your brain is forced to run on inferior fuel, it can’t possibly do everything it was built to do. Refined sugar, for example, contributes to impaired brain function, leads in inflammation and can even cause depression.”

The Biggest Head Scratcher

It’s interesting how parents and kids never stop to consider the foods that they are putting in their bodies.

In a society where kids want to fit in rather than stand out. A society where we care so much about the clothes we wear, the cars we drive and the homes we live in. But such little consideration about our own bodies.

Most people talk to the talk but never walk the walk. They discuss at lengths about how they know exercise and their nutrition is important but never follow through! 

I am by NO MEANS perfect but I make sure to apply small simple habits everyday. I will be the first to tell you I enjoy a good craving, mostly pizza, or a beer. But those cravings do not dominate my lifestyle.

Sports training is for your child’s athletic performance but even more importantly it’s building habits for them down the road. It’s kinda like why you see so many former athletes, especially college athletes, continue to workout most of their life!

WHY? Because it has become a piece of who they are. It’s a quality habit to use for your health but highly important for your brain and being able to function throughout your day.

Ryan Speaking

Mindset Built To Last

Dr. Lisa Mosconi author Brain Food says, “The human brain requires 45 distinct nutrients to function best. While most of these nutrients are created by the brain itself, the rest are imported from our diet.”

The problem with building healthy food habits and ultimately healthy minds is you do not feel any of the ill effects immediately. You go by the fast food restaurant, eat the food and it’s not like your brain just stops functioning.

It’s kinda like the smoker who smokes that first cigarette probably does feel like they have lung cancer. The habit over time that leads to the ill effects…

Our poor habits that slowly deteriorate our brains. The foods we are eating are starting to show correlation with Alzheimer’s disease. 

The Conversation Yesterday

I recently was having a conversation with an athlete in the gym about the foods they were consuming. Great athlete and performers at an extremely high level within their sport but if you logged him a food journal it’s basically bread, tortillas, meat, peanut butter and protein shakes…

We took some time talking about adding some vegetables to his diet and to be honest he was confused about why he wanted to do that. Actually his response was “If they will help me get bigger I will eat them”

Typical meathead! But we dove into how this actually would help him get stronger because of his energy levels from fueling his brain and body more efficiently. Then about why it’s a quality lifestyle habit. 

He wants to own his own business one day. I told him you have to operate at an extremely high and efficient level. Other people’s families depend on your ability to lead them as employees and his ability to lead a company…

It’s 10x tougher to think clearly on a foggy brain. We have the tools to help us start unfogging and decluttering our brains. That’s what a healthy mindset is all about! A mindset to think clearly and efficiently!

I told him to go look in my fridge and see what I fuel myself on throughout the day at the gym. It’s filled with organic spinach, avocados, raw garlic, raw ginger, blueberries and apple cider vinegar…

Again I am not perfect but I also understand the importance of fueling my brain to operate at the same level for my morning groups and night groups!

What Habits Are You Passing Along

The most frustrating part of our industry in sports training and performance are all these coaches who do not practice the advice they give. It’s the ones to talk about training and do not train themselves…

Give advice on nutrition but eat out for lunch every day. Teach goal setting and either do not write their own goals down or revisit them but once a year!

Toss around mindset but no clue what it actually means!

I preach so much about mentorship and investing in yourself…What if I did not do either of those? You most likely would not see me as a trusted expert…

And unfortunately it’s the world we live in where everyone claims to be an expert at everything.

You, as parents, do not have to be nutrition experts but what habits are we passing along to our kids. One of the worst things in the world is watching someone you love and care for brain deteriorate….

It’s awful to see so many kids walk around everyday sad, anxious and depressed when we have some natural tools we can use. I do not stand here before you and say this will fix everyone that is going through rough patches….

But I firmly do believe that it will put a massive dent in prevention. There are places in the world where diseases and sicknesses that we have in the western world do not exist where they live!

Let’s begin today to take notice what’s on your plate and an easy way to start doing that is using Jim Kwik’s Top 10 Brain Foods:

Start adding these to your day everyday:

  1. Avocados
  2. Blueberries
  3. Broccoli
  4. Dark Chocolate
  5. Eggs
  6. Green Leafy Vegetables
  7. Salmon, Sardines, Caviar
  8. Turmeric
  9. Walnuts
  10. Water


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