Do you dream about sporting glory, competing in the Olympics, winning a major tournament and getting paid at the same time? Notoriously, athletes battle to become the best versions of themselves both physically and mentally. Becoming a successful athlete requires incredible commitment and sacrifice, not to mention the resilience to try, try and try again in the wake of defeat.
So what should you be focusing on to take your performance to the level of the elites? Here we run through what some of the world’s most famous athletes prioritize in their lifestyle to help them reach their potential.
Pro Training Routines
The American Olympic gymnast, Simone Biles, is a fan of cross-training including swimming, cycling, running – in addition to her gymnastics training – each week. However, before you jump straight into a hardcore training routine you’ve found on the internet, remember that your body is unique and may not respond in the same way as the star you’re trying to emulate. You may even end up injuring yourself which is clearly the last thing you need when trying to up your physical game. Begin with slow steps and, if in any doubt, consult a doctor before beginning.
If you’re serious about wanting to take your athletic performance to the next level, the Pro Athletes Training Program at IMG Academy is a world-class training facility which has coached the likes of Serena Williams, Jimmy Butler, Russell Wilson and many more notable professional athletes.
Nutrition is a hugely important component in any fitness regime but, contrary to popular belief, there is not a one-size-fits all solution. For example, the American football star, Tom Brady, has learnt over time that his body is particularly prone to inflammation. Working with his coach, Tom has adapted his diet to minimize any foods which could worsen inflammation in his body and have a negative impact on his training and performance.
While your body may not respond to certain foods in the same way as other people, there are some nutritional guidelines for athletes to consider which can help to optimize energy levels and develop muscle. Take a look at the top 10 nutritional issues for athletes.
Make rest and recovery a priority
Recovery is as important as training in many ways. When you are asleep, your body and brain have the opportunity to make steps to repair muscles and any other damage that’s occurred during training. Together, they work to regenerate your cells for the next training session, and without the recovery period, you can quickly deplete your energy levels. Usain Bolt is one of the biggest advocates of a healthy sleep schedule during training. When you feel yourself tempted to stay up for that extra episode of a TV series, or to do a bit more work, think about how your performance is likely to suffer as a result.
Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more
You know (or at least you should know by now) that hydration is key to keeping your brain and body functioning at maximum capacity on a day-to-day basis. If you’re putting yourself through strenuous activity and sweating buckets, then hydration becomes an even more serious issue. Training in the sun like beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings? It’s non-negotiable – you need to hydrate or you will suffer severe consequences.
Being just slightly dehydrated can cause a lull in concentration, and/or cause headaches – while severe dehydration can lead to hospitalization.
Work on your mental fitness
Finally, not a single professional athlete in the world has made it to where they are today without some serious mental strength, agility and creativity. Playing sports or competing in athletics requires tactical thinking, strong intuition, and a keen perception of what is going on around you. NBA player Stephen Curry is renowned for his exceptional ability to make split-second tactical decisions by taking in and processing a huge amount of sensory information in one given moment. His mental fitness sets him apart from other players because he is able to see opportunities which no one else sees and, in his own words, to ‘make the game slow down’ so that he can execute the right choice for his team.
All of these pro athletes have come to understand and respect their own bodies, and have created a training regime which plays to their strengths and conditions their abilities. With patience, resilience and some experimentation, you can do exactly the same.