An Ultimate Frisbee star shares tips from his health and wellness playbook

[4 min read]

In this article: 

  • Seattle Cascades star Tommy Li prioritizes physical and mental health on and off the field. 
  • Flexibility is essential to managing family life and athletic goals.  
  • Participation in sports supports the social connections essential to emotional well-being. 

It’s Men's Health Month, when we recognize the importance of regular men’s health and wellness practices. But let’s face it, for a lot of men, taking care of their health and wellness can sometimes be a challenge.

Research shows that men are often reluctant to address health concerns and may delay seeking medical attention until symptoms become severe. Encouraging men to prioritize preventive health care and regular check-ups can help detect and address health issues early, leading to better outcomes and overall well-being.
For some insight into men’s health maintenance, we recently connected with Tommy Li, a receiver on the Providence Swedish-sponsored men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, the Seattle Cascades. Li shared with us some of his best practices that can help men prioritize their physical and emotional health and wellness.  

How do you balance training for ultimate frisbee with other aspects of life?

Right now, it's harder than it used to be because we have a two-and-a-half-year-old. It helps that my wife plays Ultimate for the women's pro team, so she understands. (Providence Swedish also sponsors Seattle’s women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, the Tempest.) But for sure, it's difficult to train. Before we had a kid, I would probably do something athletic every day, and I would train a lot harder. Now, it's just different. I have more things that require my energy. I don't have the same recovery as I used to. I remember in my late 20's I would do power cleans at the gym then go play pick up afterwards. It was awesome! But I don’t have the time and energy for that anymore. Obviously, my life revolves much more around our son, and that’s okay. I’m still doing one to two good sessions a week and that's good enough for me right now. I feel like I have a good base from being consistent in these last two decades. Life priorities change. I still really enjoy being on the Cascades and I think I can still help the group, both on and off the field, and I am really proud of that at 34!  

What’s some advice you’d give to others who are balancing parenthood and training?

To all the parents out there, you can totally do it! You just have to be smart about it. Follow a training plan from someone you trust. Get buy-in from your partner and figure out where training fits into your family schedule. Also, give yourself some grace because your energy is finite. 

And to all the younger people out there, value your training, and make sure that it is consistent and you can play for a long time. Make sure to keep developing your skills and technique because that is what creates truly a good player, and I guarantee if you have skills nobody else has, even if you are a bit less physical than others, you will have a role.

Tommy Li, a reciever with the Providence Swedish-sponosred Ultimate Frisbee team the Seattle Cascades, stays game-ready with a balanced approach to his mental and physical well-being. 

How do you approach your daily nutrition?

I try to eat a lot of protein and a variety of vegetables. I don't worry too much about carbs because they are everywhere. Other people do it differently, but that's generally what works for me right now. On days that I work, I fast in the morning. I also take creatine for explosiveness, collagen for general tissue healing, and a daily greens powder.

Do you have any tips for the average man becoming more athletic?

I think a big part of becoming more athletic is consistency, but also motivation. Two people can go to the gym for 90 minutes and have vastly different outputs based on how motivated they are. I find it easier to stay consistent and motivated when I belong to a group. I would recommend for someone looking to become more athletic to find a group where people are doing active things around you, so you can feed off that energy. The culture of people around you is very powerful and can motivate you to do things you could not do yourself. 

Ultimate also has been a mainstay in my life because it's not just a sport. It is where I fill my cup socially. It has helped me grow a lot as a person. For me it is incredibly motivating to be on a team where great things are expected from you, and where you want to help the group as much as you can, both athletically and [personally]. So even if you are at the recreational level, I would recommend joining groups that motivate you, and also provide those social connections that make us truly happy. That will keep you coming back again and again, and maybe even inspire you to train on your own, outside of group meetings. So, I think with the social aspect you can be more consistent. It's the difference between showing up because you enjoy it, versus relying on exercising solo and grinding through self-discipline.

Learn more and find a physician or advanced care practitioner (ACP)

Whether you're an elite or amateur athlete, our experts at Swedish Sports, Spine and Musculoskeletal Medicine can help you. Give us a call at 425-498-2272. 

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Contact Swedish Primary Care to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider. You can also connect virtually with your provider to review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. And with Swedish ExpressCare Virtual you can receive treatment in minutes for common conditions such as colds, flu, urinary tract infections and more. You can use our provider directory to find a specialist or primary care physician near you.

Information for patients and visitors

Related resources

Providence Swedish Orthopedics opens at First Hill

Achieve your fitness goals with these tips from an Ultimate Frisbee pro

Gym rat or weekend warrior? Here’s some advice for sports injury prevention.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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About the Author

The Swedish Men's Health Team is dedicated to helping men of all ages reach and maintain their optimal health by providing relevant and helpful clinically based advice.

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