Focus on the Whole Team: Surviving Tailgate Season

August 22nd, 2017 | by Walt Whitfield
Focus on the Whole Team: Surviving Tailgate Season


Nothing! And I mean nothing beats the college football atmosphere. The pageantry. The traditions. The sounds. The smells. And, of course, the party before the party. The tailgate! For a person on their health journey, the tailgate area is the proverbial quicksand. One wrong step or “bite,” and you may get little help. Here are a few tips to surviving the tailgate season.

Pregame Meal

An athlete’s pregame meal is very important when it comes to performing on game day. For most, healthier choices are made at this time. An athlete who eats a hot dog and fries will not perform at his/her best. As with the athlete, the tailgater should consume a healthy pregame meal but do so before leaving the house to travel to the game. Do not show up at the tailgate are with an empty stomach. You will fall victim to the easy to grab snack food. It’s just like the saying “don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach.”

Bring a Healthy Dish

When a coach or athletic department is recruiting new talent, the underlying question will always be “does this person make our team better?” Or quite frankly, what do you bring to the table? When it comes to a tailgate, what you bring to the table will mean a lot when trying to survive the event. Whenever you can bring a healthy dish. By bringing your own options, you can control the temptations. To make the event special, find a healthy dish that you don’t frequently make and prepare it for the tailgate.  

Find a Health Tailgate Partner

As written in our previous article “how to choose a workout partner,” I wrote about the importance of finding a like-minded health friend. The tailgate area is a great place to team up with someone to help each other stay on course. On the competitive stage, you often see teammates pull each other to the side and discuss what they are seeing on the field or court. They use this time to gain advantages in future situations. So call a friend you know is going to the tailgate. Let them know you are trying to stay on course with your health goals and could use some positive affirmation while at the event.

Walk the Tailgate Area

Every athletic department has the lifer. The one employee who has stayed for decades and tells stories of the glory days. Talks about that one coach who was tough as nails, but got the best out of his/her players. We all know that coach. The coach that would tell you to “walk it off” during a heart attack. Well, I’m not that type of coach, but I am telling you to walk it off. Get away from the temptations. Go walk the tailgate area. It will keep you away from the bad foods and  help burn off some unwanted calories. Also, it gives you time to visit with other co-workers, boosters, and fans.

If you are truly wanting to have no regrets about your behavior at the games, you need to find ways to stay on track. Do yourself a favor and eat before the game. If you need to, bring your own healthy dish. Find a friend to keep you on track. Walk the tailgate area to stay active while there. Its tailgate season. There are enough wins to go around. 

Walt Whitfield About Walt Whitfield
Walter Whitfield is an employee wellness consultant and founder of Lavoro Workplace Wellness where he helps businesses improve their workplace through employee wellness strategies. He has worked with corporations like Chevron, BP, and Seadrill. Walter is a former college athlete for Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns where he competed in cross country and track, winning Sunbelt conference titles in the 3k Steeplechase and 5k. He is married, has 3 kids, and loves all things New Orleans Saints and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns.

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