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A healthy diet and regular exercise help Sya Magee, Seattle, keep up with the action on the soccer field. (Photo Credit: Dale Garvey)

If you’ve officiated any length of time, you’ve had at least one coach urge you to be consistent in your rulings. Translated, that means, “Call everything so it favors my team.”

You might find it refreshing that someone other than a coach urges consistency as well. He is Michael George, and he is a fitness expert, personal health coach, speaker and author.

“Consistency is the key to what I call keeping a healthy lifestyle transformation,” George said. “To be good at anything in life or to make it a solid part of your life, you have to be consistent with it. You’re not going to be a great athlete if you play basketball once a week. You’ve got to practice and practice and practice. Same with referees. You have to officiate lots of games and be consistent with it and be solid in that arena. Consistency is really the key for anybody who wants to get fit and achieve their goals.”

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There are bad habits and there are good habits. Fitness is all about developing and maintaining the right routines. “Eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle has to be like brushing your teeth in the morning — you don’t think about it. It’s just what you do,” George said. “That’s what this has to become for people. It has to be something that you don’t think about. It’s not one of those optional things that you may or may not do. It’s a part of your lifestyle and you think of it as such.”

The trouble with exercise — especially for officials who don’t like doing it — is that there is no perfect workout or amount of time that can be specified. It’s different for everyone. According to George, the Cooper Institute and the American College of Sports Medicine advise exercise three to four times a week for 30 minutes. “But there’s a reason why they say that,” he said. “They did numerous studies and realized that most people need to work out for an hour a day, five days a week. But they also realized that most people wouldn’t do that. I believe that people should do some type of exercise activity five days a week for an hour a day — cardiovascular, strength work and flexibility. An hour a day to put into your lifestyle and take care of yourself so you can perform better in every area of your life is not that much to ask.”

George acknowledges that some people will find that’s too much of a time commitment. “They’ve got too many commitments,” he said. “In that case, three days a week would really be the minimum and I’m talking 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength work and 10 minutes of stretching.”

A longer, more strenuous workout is required if weight loss is important. In that case, “You have to work out more often. For some referees, like NBA referees, their cardiovascular conditioning is vital. They’ve got to be in good shape so they don’t have to focus on breathing, but the game and what they’re doing. So for referees, I say five days a week is a solid program for them, from an hour to an hour and 20 minutes per day.”

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Those who travel as part of their profession can still get in a good workout while on the road. ”Make sure the hotels that you’re staying at have decent gyms. If the gym is not your thing or you can’t get into a gym, take resistance bands with you,” George said. “You can do a complete, total workout in your room with bands. Plan ahead. It’s a very important part of being consistent and prepared by taking whatever you need with you. Also, make sure you have some time to get your workout in. Part of the consistency issue is the person taking the initiative and making the right choices that allow them to work out.”

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