For as much fun as they have in the Big Man Competition, linemen are serious about their summer training. In addition to lifting, they run to improve their stamina, and to get acclimated to the warm weather, and they also work on developing sprint speed and getting out of the blocks quickly.

All that grunt work is about to pay off.

"Bring on the two-a-days," Gunn said. "I'm ready for this season."

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5 tips for the first day of high school practice

Saturday is the first day of practice for local public school athletic teams, and many private and parochial school teams began workouts earlier this week. Heading into his 12th season as the athletic trainer at Archbishop Spalding High School, T.J. Morgan shared his tips for how young athletes can be ready to get back in action.

1. Preparation: Too often athletes take for granted their conditioning and try to jump right into the season doing a full workout, and they're probably not prepared for it, so they should expect a certain amount of soreness. They should expect a certain amount of lack of conditioning where they're not able to keep up with the guys and girls who may have been conditioning all summer.


2. Avoid unnecessary supplementation: There's absolutely no need for any student who is getting an adequate diet to have to add any kind of supplementation to their diet. They should not add need to add any kind of protein powder, things like that. If they're eating the recommended daily allowances of the foods they should be eating, they're getting enough foods in order to recoup the energy stores that they need.


3. Get adequate rest: Rest is the ultimate healer. The more time you're able to give your body to rest, the better the body is going heal, the better the tissue is going to be able to heal. Many of these kids do have part time jobs and try and work in between [practices], but other kids will go out and do other things. They'll finish a heavy practice and then the next day, they'll go for a run trying to condition themselves into shape, and the problem is they're just not giving the body the opportunity it needs to recover.

4. Adequate nutrition: Which ties into supplementation, but the nutrition component means making sure they're eating meals throughout the course of the day, multiple meals. Especially if they're participating in a two-a-day type situation, they can't — if they're at morning practice — just wake up and have toast and jelly or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and go to practice. They're about to go to practice and expend anywhere from 4-5-600 calories, so they have to make sure that they take in at least that in the morning.

5. Get hydrated and stay hydrated: Pre-hydration is the key. If they're going to their practices and they're well hydrated, the chances of them succumbing to a heat-related illness is significantly reduced. But if they go into their practices dehydrated, or they're not maintaining hydration while they're practicing, the chance of succumbing to a heat-related illness goes up, and the research all supports that.