My friend good Zach and I go back about 5 years to our senior year of high school (where did that time go??). Despite being thousands of miles away from each other we have been able to maintain a wonderful friendship. Zach is always there to give me some words of encouragement or advice whenever I need them and graciously agreed to write a short little guest post on life after college athletics.
A little background about Zach and I…
When I met Zach, this is what he was known for:
But in college he decided he wanted to play football. No easy task for someone who may have been about 170 pounds soaking wet and didn’t play but a year of high school football as a freshman. Through hard work and dedication, Zach put on 30+ pounds of muscle and walked-on to the University of Northern Iowa Football team his senior year…
Though he plans to continue his football career, he had some thoughts on life after college athletics. So without further adieu:
Life After College Athletics
My name is Zach Kienol and I used to be a Student Athlete. I played Football at the University of Northern Iowa, as a wide receiver, during the off season of my Junior year and the regular season of my Senior year.
The typical response to graduating from college as a student athlete is to settle down and have a normal adult life working from 8 to 5 every day. Although this is not the path I’ve decided to take right now, it is one I will someday have to take. I’ve heard it said that some athletes have a hard time adjusting to a smaller caloric intake after they are finished with their sport. This is an important thing to think about when adjusting to life after college athletics. Your body is no longer undergoing the hours and hours of the stress of practice and training; which means no more going to the dining center and eating plate after plate to replenish all of that lost energy. It’s time to face the fact that we’re getting older so our metabolism will be slowing down as well! Factor that in with a typical athlete’s diet and you’ve got a recipe for putting on some unwanted weight. Having taken a great deal of classes on the subject, while earning my degree in Exercise Science, I have learned that a good balance of diet and exercise is probably one of the most important things we can all do to live a long healthy life. It is important for those of us finishing up our athletic careers to dial back the calories or you’ll have to deal with the consequences. You don’t have to cut back all at once but a gradual decrease in portion sizes each meal is recommended to get your body used to less. Snacks may have to be removed from the diet as well if your caloric intake outweighs your exercise expenditure.
As far as exercising goes, you are now free to take part in really whatever you’d like! Take advantage of that opportunity and do what makes you happy. It’s never too late to try something new; if you’ve always seen yourself participating in an activity go ahead and do it! If your coaches haven’t beaten the concept into your brain yet, the only thing holding you back is yourself! So many times we have goals and desires but we doubt ourselves or approach things with negative attitudes. There is no room for that kind of mentality in college athletics and there certainly isn’t room for that in life after athletics either. As long as you find time in your schedule for exercise, you’ll finish up your day happier and you’ll live healthier. Keep that hard working driven mentality you’ve built from your sport and put it to use in your every day life. Eat right, stay fit, and you’ll be a winner in the game of life!