Living the athlete lifestyle doesn’t mean having luxurious cars or a large special media following. It means committing yourself to a life of discipline and training in order to optimize your health and fitness level. This commitment is what separates an athlete from someone following a typical exercise program.
If you’re ready to take your exercise routine to the level of an athlete, you’ll have to change your plan. You’ll also need to re-think your everyday choices when it comes to nutrition and recovery. Living an athletic lifestyle is more than just an hour workout three times a week. It’s making sure that every decision you make supports your performance goals. Of course, this means making huge lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise. You’ll need to have a conversation with your doctor about whether or not this type of lifestyle will suit you and your medical needs. Once you receive their approval, your doctor can then help you design a plan that works best for you.
Here’s a look at some of the changes you will want to consider and discuss with your doctor.
Looking For A Healthy Lifestyle? Modify Goals And Mindset To Change Your Athletic Performance
The clearer your workout goals, the easier it will be to measure your progress. This can help you stay on track and make you less likely to skip training sessions.1,2
For example, professional athletes – and even the average student athlete – have exact performance targets in mind during training. Some weightlifters, for example, might want to increase their bench press by 15 pounds. Sprinters might have a goal of shaving two-tenths of a second off their 40-yard dash time.3
They have a specific target they want to hit, and they work in an almost obsessive manner to do so.
The SMART Way To Set Goals
But how do you go about establishing your specific goals? How do you get your mind and body prepared for a new training routine? The American Council on Exercise has established what it calls the SMART goal method. The purpose is to help people take vague ideas and turn them into tangible objectives. Here’s a quick look at what the method entails:
- Specific – This means stating a specific goal, something that’s easy to understand yet non-subjective. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, set a goal to lose 25 pounds. If you want to boost your athletic performance, set a goal of shaving three minutes off your mile run.
- Measurable – You have to have a tangible result in mind, one you’ll know for sure whether or not you are able to obtain. Instead of saying you want to go to the gym more, set a goal for going to the gym 3 days a week, then work your way up.
- Attainable – Whether you’re looking to reduce body weight or trying to achieve any other type of result, your goal needs to be realistic. But, at the same time, it can’t be easy. If it’s too hard or too simple, you might have a hard time keeping your motivation.
- Relevant – Goals should be relevant to the type of training that interests you. It won’t do you much good to do a lot of sprinting if you’re trying to work toward completing a marathon.
- Time-Bound – Set a deadline for reaching your goals.4
Workout Training Sessions: Consult An Expert To Stay As Safe As Possible
Before you begin an intense training program, you want to make sure you do so as safely as possible. Professional athletes and student athletes have coaches. You should find your own “coach,” so to speak, in the form of an expert trainer.
A trainer will help show you the safest way to exercise, such as how to do the proper stretches before training sessions. Trainers can also show you ways to help protect your body during your workout. And, of course, you should talk to your doctor before starting any sort of training regimen.
Enhance Your Skills And Performance With The Right Exercise
In order to maximize your athletic performance – and your fitness levels in the process – it’s important that you determine just what type of training is best for you. Cross-training is an excellent way to maximize fitness and support the overall health of your body.5
Cross-training will help keep your workouts effective and fun. Doing the same thing all the time can get boring for some people. Cross-training not only keeps you interested but also helps you develop several different areas of the body.6
Healthier Food Choices And Eating Habits: Diet Is Important When It Comes To Body Weight And Body Fat
If you are going to be truly committed to living the athletic lifestyle, it will be just as, if not more important to plan your nutrition as it will be to plan your training sessions. Setting healthy eating goals will be key to making your training regimen as effective as possible.7
One of the best ways to get the most out of your workout is to stay hydrated. Pay close attention to your body weight, both before and after a workout. If you lose a substantial amount of weight after a session, you’ll need to drink more beforehand in order to reduce the risk of dehydration.8
You will also need to boost your carbohydrate intake if you plan to start a performance training program. A performance athlete needs a lot more carbs than someone who exercises on a moderate basis. The body uses carbohydrates as energy – the harder you work out, the more you’ll need.9 Your doctor can help you come up with a plan to ensure you have an ample supply.
Don’t Forget Your Recovery Day: Get The Rest And Sleep That Your Muscles, Joints, And Mind Need
As vital as training and nutrition are to your overall fitness, taking the time to recover properly will be critical as well. Recovery not only helps prevent muscle injury and reduce fatigue but also supports performance. It gives the body – as well as the mind – time to rest and re-energize so you can be at your best during your next training session.10
Getting enough sleep is key to recovering from an intense workout. If you get less than six hours a night, research indicates that can affect your athletic performance, impair your decision-making skills and even weaken your immune system.11
If you’re going to make the commitment needed to fully embrace the athletic lifestyle, you’ll need to take careful, measured steps. Talk to your doctor as well as an expert trainer to make sure you’ll be able to meet your fitness goals in the most effective, safest manner possible.