By: ray.perry : October 30, 2012

The screaming fans peered down upon us from the stands of the arena. The piercing sound of their air horns exploded off the water’s surface. In conditions like this, it is nearly impossible to hear the referee’s whistle, the voice of a teammate or even your own thoughts. These are the noises and cries of my battlefields in Italy. These are the sounds of a rivalry match. We were engulfed by the noise and let it take us off of our rhythm. This time, we were defeated.

Wind, rain, and dark grey clouds have been looming over my week here in Italy. These ominous conditions are especially apparent due to the exceptionally beautiful conditions over last weekend. Hot sun and crystal clear skies teased me with memories of summer. Fortunately, trainings are indoors away from the wind and the cold. I have been pushing exceptionally hard in training in an effort to speed up my conditioning. Surprisingly, my body has been responding well to the rigors of training and play despite the brutal nature of the sport. This past Wednesday my team had a rivalry match-up against a town five miles north, and unfortunately it didn’t go as planned. We lost 10-7 and were outplayed most of the match. We will play the same team again in two months in front of our home crowd, which I am looking forward to.

My focus this past week has been on my recovery. Difficult trainings and matches deplete your body of nutrients. With a bit of attention to your diet you can easily combat the symptoms of fatigue, dehydration and soreness. I have introduced a protein, antioxidant, and potassium rich diet these past few weeks. I am seeing great results so far. I supplement my diet with a healthy portion of pistachios. They are high in fiber, vitamin B6 (which helps with recovery), potassium (prevention of muscle injury and cramping), and of the fats found in pistachios, nearly all are mono/polyunsaturated fats (fats that aren’t bad for you!). I am constantly hungry, constantly needing a snack. It is very easy to find snacks out there that leave you feeling unsatisfied and unhealthy. I choose pistachios because they are one of the most nutritionally packed and lowest calorie nuts. I feel energized and healthy when I choose them over conventional snacks. They are surely one of the secrets to my recovery and general health!

I am off to Italian language class; hopefully I will be close to fluent by Christmas. Until next time!

Thanks for reading!

John Mann
USA Olympic Water Polo player