Do you feel like you’ve hit a stalemate with your exercising? Nothing you do anymore improves your athletic performance. That’s because sometimes instead of working and exercising more and harder, we need to exercise smarter.
Maximizing your workouts to improve your athletic performance has never been easier. Today you have all you need to improve your athletic performance. But there are things that you should understand first. For example, the improvement of your performance isn’t just tied to a gym – it starts when you wake up and it continues throughout the day.
Basically, everything you do, all your daily routines reflect on your athletic performance.
With this being said, let’s see all the powerful ways which can help you improve your athletic performance.
Let’s start with something simple like a diet. Yes, your diet can significantly help you improve your athletic performance. When it comes to getting the most out of your exercises, you need to watch what you eat before workouts.
The trick is to eat slow-digesting carbs before working out. Why? Well, when you eat foods that contain whole grains for lunch and breakfast you have more energy and endurance during your workouts. You also have lower insulin levels and burn more fats.
This is why, every meal you eat before the workout, including the one right before, should contain foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, oatmeal, nuts, and legumes, to name a few.
In addition to knowing what to eat before the workout, it’s important to know when exactly to eat. Experts recommend eating at least 3 to 4 hours before exercising.
A post-workout diet is equally as important as a pre-workout one. The whole point of eating after a workout is to replenish all the nutrients you lost during the exercise. This way you will speed up the recovery process and thus enhance your performance during the next workout.
During every workout, you lose energy, and on top of that, your tissues get micro-injuries. With post-workout nutrition, you aim to replenish your energy stores, increase muscle quality (or size) and repair those micro damages created during the exercise.
So, what type of food should you eat post-workout? Carbs and protein. A mix of carbs and protein will build your muscles and repair everything that needs to be repaired. Also, contrary to what you may think, fat is not all that bad either. So try incorporating fats as well.
Once again the timing is important for a post-workout meal as well. It’s recommended that you eat your post-workout meal 45 minutes after the workout. It’s crucial that we eat sooner rather than later because our bodies rebuild glycogen and protein faster after the workout.
Never exercise when you’re hungry
It’s important to say this – never exercise when you’re hungry! Working out when hungry can lead to overeating after a workout. Apart from that exercising on an empty stomach can lead to poor performance and not to mention that you can pass out.
Before hitting the gym make sure you’ve had your pre-workout meal!
It goes without saying that staying hydrated during workouts is important. You don’t even know how fast you can get dehydrated.
When we exercise we sweat and through that sweat, we lose fluids. The reason why you sweat is that your body is trying to cool down after you’ve increased your body’s temperature through exercise.
To avoid dehydration, you should drink plenty of water during your training. You should drink somewhere around one liter of water per hour during your workout.
Of course, you should also know that you shouldn’t drink too much water either. Drinking too much water before exercise can cause bloating and nausea, which can negatively affect your performance.
In addition to water, drinking tea after workouts is a good idea, too. Tea is high in antioxidants which can help you reduce soreness and help you recover muscle strength faster.
There are other drinks that can help you stay hydrated and can be good post-workout drinks if you don’t want to limit yourself with just water.
Many times the food you eat doesn’t provide you with enough essential nutrients you need in order to improve your athletic performance. However, you must be aware that supplements can’t take place of any food, you still need a balanced diet and a variety of healthy foods.
If you want to improve your athletic performance some of the main dietary supplements that can help you achieve this goal include arginine, caffeine, protein powder, creatine, to name a few.
Arginine supplement is supposed to increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. It also increases blood flow and stimulates the growth of muscles.
Many athletes use caffeine supplements 1 to 2 hours before a workout because caffeine burns the fat and reduces perceived pain and exertion. Caffeine also helps you increase endurance which means that you can do more reps than usual. It’s important to know that caffeine found in coffee is not as effective as caffeine supplements.
Even though you can get protein through whole foods some people have a hard time consuming it. That’s why they use protein powder such as whey protein which comes from milk. Whey protein is easily digested and thus it helps you build, maintain, and repairs muscle faster.
Creatine supplement if taken regularly before and after exercise can increase muscle and your performance.
Do different exercises
Improving your athletic performance is all about improving your strength and response time. Yes, you may prefer some exercises to others but variety is the key to enhanced and improved performance. You need exercises that will engage and strengthen all your muscles.
For muscle strengthening, you should include resistance machines, weights, dumbells, and a combo of all of these. You should also include some stretching exercises, balance, and flexibility exercises as well so that your joints don’t become too stiff due to all the muscle you’re gaining.
In addition to different types of exercises, you should also vary your rep speed. The best would be to combine both slow and fast reps to maximize your strength and size.
Keep track of your performance during training
Keeping track of your performance in the gym has never been easier. There are tons of new gadgets designed to help your measure your performance during training.
Keeping track of your performance is important because it can help you reach and surpass your goals. Additionally, knowing exactly where you’re at with your progress can keep you motivated and it can help you stay focused and committed to your plan.
When it comes to choosing how to track and measure your performance, you have tons of options. If you’re more old-school, you can write your progress down in a fitness journal. You also have the option of downloading different types of apps on your mobile phone, invest in fitness watches, take photos, and so on. As technology advances, there are new options to track your progress every day.
Listen to music
Now you’re wondering how listening to music can improve your athletic performance. Well, according to studies, music can help you recover faster after a workout. This is because listening to your favorite music can boost serotonin and dopamine levels, and these two hormones are responsible for faster recovery.
So, next time you hit the gym or start doing exercises, don’t forget to play your favorite tunes. Listening to your favorite music costs noting and if it can help you recover faster after a workout, then why not try it.
Get a good night’s sleep
As mentioned above, it’s our habits that help us increase our athletic performance. One such habit is your sleeping routine. The amount of sleep you get will ultimately help you get to your desired goal.
When we sleep, our body’s immune and endocrine systems get restored, our nervous system and muscles recover from all the training we did the previous day. In addition to all this, sleep also improves our focus, motivation, motor function, and reaction time.
If we don’t sleep enough we risk injury, fatigue, lethargy, slow reaction time, we are also more susceptible to illness.
For better performance, it’s recommended that you sleep somewhere between 7 to 9 hours per night.
Pay attention to pain
No pain, no gain, right? Wrong! Don’t play around with your health with this kind of thinking. If you feel any kind of pain, stop doing it.
When working out, you’re bound to feel some sort of discomfort and even pain. However, when that pain starts being prolonged and unbearable, something is wrong.
Don’t do a certain exercise if it hurts you. Tons of other exercises can replace that one. Of course, you’d need to find out why that particular exercise causes you pain, but before you do, switch to something that doesn’t hurt you.
Recovery time is crucial
Recovery time is as important as the workout itself, some would say even more important. One of the biggest reasons why you need to take time for recovery is to prevent injury.
As already mentioned, exercising causes micro-injuries to our muscle tissue. These small injuries are important for muscle building and growing stronger. However, if you continue to work out without recovery time, these micro-injuries instead of healing will turn into severe and painful muscle tears. Some of the biggest problems and most serious injuries happen because people don’t allow themselves enough recovery time.
The second reason for the recovery time is to replenish your energy. During the workout, we use up all the carbs that our bodies have stored. This recovery time is necessary to recover all the carbs that we lost during the workout.
The easiest way to heal your muscles and replenish muscle glycogen is by taking a break from training. Either stop exercising altogether for a couple of days or just don’t do high-intensity exercises.
Similarly, you can help your body recover by doing stretching exercises. Just like we stretch before exercises, we should also stretch after for the same reason as well. Post-workout stretching can help you improve your performance the next time you train.
This is not all, massages can also help you during your recovery period. Getting a massage from a professional can reduce inflammation by improving circulation. A massage can also break the stiffness and tightness in your muscles caused by the build-up of lymphatic fluid.
You can also invest in a foam roller. A foam roller can do wonders for those who don’t want to get a professional massage. With a foam roller, you can break up and prevent all the knots in your muscles. You can use it for your quads, calves, glutes, backs, and so on. And the best thing is that you can use it alone using just the power of your body and rolling it back and forth on the sore spot.
None of the previous tips will work if you don’t train your brain. Improving your athletic performance can be done only if you train your brain. In addition to training and strengthening all the other muscles in your body, you also need to train your brain as well.
Many athletes use all kinds of mind strengthening techniques to improve their performance. Performing mental exercises, using visual stimulants, tracking your progress, and also knowing that there are going to be setbacks on your fitness journey – all these are a part of your brain training.
Improving athletic performance takes time but it’s not complicated at all. You just need to find the right way to do it. You need to remember that everything matters from your diet to your everyday habits, not just what you do in the gym.
Of course, it goes without mentioning, that you should always pay attention to your body’s cues and signals. If there is pain, if you feel like you need some downtime, if certain food or supplements don’t agree with you – all this is crucial if you want to increase your performance.