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Stay fit and focused: The world’s most famous referees share their secrets to a healthy life

There’s no question that athletes are very fit people and need to stay in shape in order to perform at their very best. It makes sense that the referees that are on the field with them watching what they’re doing also need to stay fit: after all, game officials need to be able to keep up with the action of the game in order to make the right calls. In many sports, this involves a lot of running, jogging, and sprinting. While amateur referees don’t require extensive or particularly intense physical fitness levels, it’s important to get some training in outside of the actual matches to work on endurance, agility, and speed.

No matter where on the calendar your next game day is, making a habit of good nutrition and proper fitness can help make sure that you stay healthy and in good shape for the games both physically and mentally. What’s more is that taking care of yourself can lead to positive changes in the rest of your life, too. Here is what ArbiterSports recommends you do before, during, after, and between games.

Before the Game

Your body needs the proper fuel to run, whether you’re playing a game or officiating it, so make sure that you’re nourishing yourself properly. Two hours before the game, you’ll want to focus on keeping your energy levels up while you’re receiving nutrients: eat a light meal that’s high in carbohydrates for fuel and drink plenty of water, which you might not get the chance to drink much of during the game.

Just before the game, you’ll want to warm up properly to avoid injuries. A proper warm-up will help increase the speed of the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, prevent muscle stiffness, increase blood flow, and get your heart rate up before you really get to work. The muscles you use will depend on the sport you officiate, but you can’t go wrong with a 15- to 20-minute warmup that gets you warm with a light sweat: you want to warm up, not do any intense activities just yet. Try jogging and gradually speeding up and stretching the muscles that you’ll be using on the field.

During the Game

While there’s not much downtime during the game, it’s possible to stretch on the move to make sure that you stay limber. What you’ll likely be focusing on during the game is staying hydrated: the combination of sweating from working and not stopping for water breaks very often can lead to dehydration. Drink water when you can get it, and listen to what your body needs.

After the Game

After cooling down and re-hydrating from the game, nutrition will probably be your primary focus. After your intense activity, your first goal will be to eat more carbohydrates to get your energy back up, but make sure that there’s enough nutrition in what you’re eating to help recover. Pack fruit, cereal bars, carbohydrate drinks, or yogurt in your referee bag for a quick post-game snack while you’re on the move, or if you have time to sit down for a meal, try a sandwich or some soup.

In Between Games

A regular fitness regime will keep you in good mental and physical shape: if you work out regularly, you’re less likely to get tired on the field, which leads to better focus and performance. Consult a doctor to determine a training regime that works for you.

You will also want to have high standards for your nutrition in order to make and keep the progress you make in your training. Sports referees need to focus on consuming carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscles, and nutrition to keep the body in working order. With a well-balanced diet, you can make sure that you’re giving yourself what you need to perform at your very best.

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