Professional athletes, novice athletes, it doesn’t matter which group you’re a part of, everyone is constantly striving to achieve more and take their fitness game to the next level. While it is true that one of your primary goals should be to simply do more over time (called progressive overload), it won’t be enough to boost your fitness level and help you become a better athlete.
After all, if progressive overload was the only way to advance in your fitness career, everyone would have achieved top-level status in the industry by now. Since constantly doing more is not exactly feasible, here are the best ways that will help you become a better athlete and get more out of every workout.
It all begins with a solid battle plan
Many abandon their fitness goals not because lifting weights or running on a treadmill is too hard, but because they don’t know what the heck they’re doing, why they’re doing it, or what their end goal actually is. This is a serious problem permeating the fitness industry and it’s about time people got educated on the benefits of regular exercise, as well as the best methods to approach training.
That’s why it’s imperative to set up a long-term goal first. Your workout routine should be the path to achieving your goals, so you need to tailor it accordingly. If you’re after cardiovascular endurance, try HIIT training. If strength is what you’re after, try strongman training or powerlifting. And if an aesthetic physique is what you’re after, then bodybuilding style training is for you.
What’s on your supplement shelf?
Supplements are extremely important for overall health and well-being, especially for athletes battling the daily challenges of vigorous exercise, trying to recover as fast as possible for the workouts ahead. Not only do you want to supplement your healthy diet with protein powder and creatine for maximum muscle and strength gains, but you also want to take daily vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure proper micronutrient intake and faster post-workout recovery.
Commit to getting better over time
As mentioned earlier, you can’t expect your every workout to be better than the last. Progress is undulating and sometimes downright unpredictable, it takes time and dedication. That’s why you want to stick to realistic periodization in your training, with set training parameters that will help you achieve your goals as fast as possible. Everything needs to be planned out to the tee if you want to achieve top performance.
Rock the right clothes and accessories
Every sport has its specialized training equipment, from durable compression clothing for performance athletes to protective gear for strength competitors. If you want to maximize your training and build an injury-free fitness career, you need to ditch your cushioned sneakers and your cotton T-shirt and swap them out for proper athletic wear that’s crafted for top performance. Your joints, tendons and muscles will thank you.
Don’t forget to warm up properly
In a fast-paced world where everyone is in some kind of a rush all day long, people tend to forget about the most important aspects of training. One of these is adhering to a comprehensive warm up routine that will force blood into the muscle tissue and fire up your entire system before you get into your workout.
So, don’t just do a couple of push-ups and air squats before you start exercising, but rather devote at least 10 minutes to warming up your entire body, starting from the neck and working your way down all the way to your pinkies. This way, you will not only perform better, but you will minimize the risk of injury in the process.
Superset your workouts
Relating to the fast-paced world you live in, very few people nowadays have the “luxury” of spending two or three hours in the gym. You want to be in and out as fast as possible, while at the same time presenting a strong enough stimulus for your body to grow. Luckily, you can achieve this by super-setting your workouts.
Simply bundle together a bunch of exercises instead of doing them consecutively and make it a circuit-type training. Not only will exercising this way save you plenty of precious time, but you will also force your body to adapt to this new, vigorous type of training.
Adhere to proper recovery methods
At the end of the day, your progress will greatly depend on your ability to recover properly before the next training session. Every type of training (when done right) is highly disruptive and taxing, forcing your body to adapt, but also presenting a few risks along the way.
If you want to keep injuries at bay and come back to your training bigger, faster, and stronger every time, you need to optimize your sleep schedule, tidy up your nutrition and supplementation, and take your rest days seriously. Atop of that, make sure you use active recovery to your advantage in order to maximize recovery and progress down the road.
Every fitness enthusiast strives to achieve more and become a better athlete, whether it’s beating your track time, lifting more weight, or simply looking better in the mirror. Alas, there is no magic trick to help you achieve your goals, just good old time-tested methods the pros have been using for decades that will allow you to maximize your every workout.