Now in her eighth WNBA season, Chicago Sky forward Tamera Young has entered new territory—wearing street clothes, an arm cast, and sitting 40 minutes on the bench each game. For over half of her WNBA career, she has been a part of the starting line-up. She has averaged 6.7 points, 1.2 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game throughout her career.
Last month, Tamera injured a ligament in her right thumb during a team practice. She had surgery in mid-June and has been donning a purple arm cast—the same shade of purple as her alma mater, James Madison University.
A couple of weeks ago prior to an away game versus the Washington Mystics, I sat down with Tamera Young to chat a little bit about her post-surgery life and embracing her physical set back as an opportunity to develop her role on the team.
CEb: Post injury and surgery, how are you taking care of yourself from a nutrition and fitness perspective?
TY: My regimen is basically the same. When I first had the surgery I wasn’t eating, so I’ve lost a few pounds that way, but now my appetite is back. I always try to eat healthy. I may have a doughnut here and there, but for the most part I love to be in shape and the size that I am. Even when I’m not playing, I still try to eat the right things.
CEb: What are the right things?
TY: My favorite is baked salmon or baked chicken. I don’t really eat fried food. I try to have a vegetable with each meal if I can—pasta for the carbs. That’s mainly about it. I probably eat basically the same thing. I don’t really venture out too much and try new foods. I like to go with what I like.
CEb: What exercises do you use that keep you mentally, physically, and spiritually ready?
TY: We have our weight training that we workout with—now that I’m not playing we can actually lift more so we’re going to actually start tomorrow on a four day weight plan. And then running-wise, we do a little cardio on the treadmill here and there but I mainly like to run on the court doing sprints and different sprint intervals like that.
There are a few things Tamera spoke about that I would like to address in a little more detail.
- What exactly are the benefits of heavier and more frequent weightlifting during off-season or non-regular play (i.e., recovering from in-season injury)?It’s all about muscle recovery. Your muscles need time to recover and not become overstressed, overused, and exhausted. When you lift heavier loads you increase muscle strength and muscle size. Also, anytime you increase the resistance load and/or number of repetitions, you put your body in a position to become fatigued quicker and recovery time is essential. When in-season, this is impossible to do with several back-to-back games and daily practice schedules. You NEED recovery time! A better option for in-season resistance training is lighter loads and moderate repetitions. This helps with overall maintenance throughout the season.
- Why eat the same healthy foods every day? I thought I needed to cook and eat different foods every day.Not necessarily. Why make things more difficult than they need to be? Figure out what healthy foods and well-balanced meals you like and agree with your body (i.e., do not make you feel bloated, lethargic, heavy, or tired) and go for it! Repeat as often as you like. Prepare food in large batches, divide into smaller portions, and you’re all set for half or a full week! Also, when you travel a lot, it’s great to have go-to simple meals and foods to order at restaurants. Keep it simple. Your stomach and stat sheet can thank me later.
- I can cheat and eat not-so-healthy foods as a part of my daily nutrition plan?Moderation is key here. Cheat meals or snacks should be the exception and not the norm. And depending on your current fitness and wellness goals, they have no business being in your diet whatsoever. When doughnuts start appearing in your daily eating regimen, please seek help! Put the doughnut down! Remember, it’s okay to just say, “NO” to the doughnut fundraisers. You can also donate money without buying any fried dough with sugar glaze (a.k.a., doughnuts)!
Thanks again to Tamera Young for sharing her time with me for this interview.
Follow Tamera Young.
READ PART I OF THIS ARTICLE, TAMERA YOUNG: EMBRACING HER INJURY AND GAINING NEW PERSPECTIVES AT WWW.UNIQUESTARZ.COM