Lifestyle and Soccer Success: Guest Post by Ashleigh Townsend

5 min read
Ashleigh Townsend is an former FirstPoint USA client, who secured a soccer scholarship in 2003 to the University of the Cumberlands. Since college, Ashleigh has had great success, playing professionally in the U.S for Cincinnati Kings, Wilmington Hammerheads and Real Maryland Monarchs. Ashleigh also runs a successful fitness blog, definitely worth a read for anyone interested in healthy living and upping their fitness levels! Given Ashleighs athletic experience, we thought it would be great to get his advice on all things fitness. In his second monthly guest blog post, Ashleigh covers what is required to reach the top of your game In his book Outliers (A GREAT READ), Malcolm Gladwell stated that in order to be the best at something and achieve world class status in what ever your field is (Soccer for us here) you will have had to achieve 10,000 hours of quality and meaningful practice. Do you think the likes of Messi, Xavi, Scholes and other world class players we all aspire to, just by chance got to be the best at what they do? No, they have spent over 10,000 hours mastering their skills, working harder than the next player and leading a healthy lifestyle to make sure that they are the first one on the team sheet every Saturday. This brings me to the purpose of this months post. I want to look at ways that we as players can do that little bit more to make ourselves better players/athletes and in doing so helping the TEAM as a whole. I understand that many hours are spent out on the practice field, in the gym and in the classroom each week. Is this enough though? I strongly believe that in order to match or even better the names I listed above you must be willing to go that extra mile, put in that extra session in the gym and most of all the thing I am most passionate about is leading a lifestyle that is going to help you progress to the highest level and the best you can possibly be. I listed Scholes, Xavi, and Messi due to one simple fact. They are the players that let what they do on the pitch speak the loudest, they are not seen out on the town all the time they work hard, get on with their job and always aspire to do better each day. Also they are the ones that spend that extra time working on different aspects of there game. Which is something we can all learn from. So what can you do to stay ahead of your competition?   1. Nutrition Firstly the most important thing is nutrition, whether you are an athlete or not the food you eat must have a positive effect on your body. Giving it the nutrients it requires to function economically. You have to eat real food packed with the essential nutrients fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals (not processed junk food) Think of your body as a Formula 1 race car, you wouldnt put Diesel fuel in the car, (it would not work) you would put in the finest fuel you could find. The same applies to your body, put in the right food and it will work better and more efficiently.   2. Sleep Sleep is the next thing but often something that is neglected by far too many people. It is another vital area of our lifestyle we must get enough rest, recovery and sleep. 8 hours is optimum but can differ from person to person and is very much down to individual needs. Some need more, some a little less. The best way to keep on top of this is to have routine. (when you go to bed and when you wake up) Make sure you get the amount you need to be ready for what life has to throw at you.   3. Hard Work Finally you must be willing to work harder than the next person. Work harder at practice. Work harder in the classroom. Work harder in achieving your goal of being the best you can possible be. Doing this doesnt just mean staying after training and doing 5 minutes of just kicking a ball aimlessly. You must spend a little more time doing appropriate practice to add up to 10,000 hours and make it meaningful if you aspire to be elite at your skill. Other ways to push yourself and ensure an edge over everyone else is in the gym. Making sure you are in the best physical shape you can be in. This goes hand in hand with leading a healthy lifestyle and can allow you make improvements in your game if the right exercises are done.  
So if you are to achieve the goals you have set yourself in soccer and in life in general it is vital that you follow a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to eat right, sleep well and work harder than the next person to give yourself every opportunity of being the absolute best you can be. TRAIN HARD. EAT RIGHT. LIVE WELL.   Check out Ashleigh's blog and follow him on Twitter for more information about health and fitness!  

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