We might not have the time (or motivation) that athletes have to train, but there are tips, tricks and methodologies that we can apply to our own exercise plans to get the best out of it.
Trust us, these are actually do-able.
- Have a plan
And you don’t even have to create the plan yourself. With apps such as Nike Training Club, Couch to 5k and Workout Trainer, you can follow set plans as if your personal trainer was right there with you, but without shelling out.
- Have a workout buddy
Many athletes train together, powering each other through the strenuous training regimes. Get yourself a workout buddy, someone who will keep your motivation up on the days you just want to be a couch potato and will provide a healthy dose of competition. Apparently having a partner can double your chance of fitness success, and it’s a whole load more fun.
- Get to grips with your sweat
All humans sweat differently and need different levels of electrolyte replacement to increase endurance, recovery and to reduce cramping. Take Andy Murray for example, when he suffers from cramping, he increases his salt intake to counteract the cramps.
When sodium levels get too low, total body water drops and blood volume decreases, which leads to fatigue and performance declines, so it’s really important to find out if you’re a salty sweater and then adjust your intake.
- Relax and recover
Helping your body to recover is crucial to development. A day off won’t set you back, but injury will. After every workout incorporate recovery techniques like foam rolling, massages and stretching and flexibility exercises.
- Intensity not time
Unfortunately, we’re not professional athletes so we don’t have 5 hours per day to train. Time is precious. You may have spent 2 hours in the gym, but how intense was that workout and could you actually achieve the same in 30 minutes? But remember, with shorter workouts, form is key to getting the best results.
- Eat like an athlete, but less
Don’t use this an excuse to eat your body weight in fuel foods. However, the type of exercise you do does require different types and frequencies of food. If you’re doing long distance swimming, you may need carbohydrates soon after training to replace the calories you’ve burnt. If you’re a sprinter, your body will need protein to replenish and re-energise muscles. Remember to stop feeling weak, groggy and to decrease your chance of cramps, keep your salt levels up.