You may never be a professional athlete but you can train like one. Besides raw talent, one of the biggest differences between pros and amateurs is their approaches to training. The professional approach to training helps pros blast past plateaus and attain super-human athletic goals.
Fortunately, you can borrow from the pros’ training book to learn how you can power through workout plateaus and achieve your personal fitness goals.
STEPS TO TRAINING LIKE A PRO
Want to train like a pro? Take a SMART training approach that focuses on:
S - Specific areas to improve performance
M - Measurable, quantifiable numbers, such as weight, on which you can improve
A - Achievable, realistic goals that prevent frustration, injury, stress
R - Relevant activities
T - Time-bound - the amount of time to achieve that goal
Assemble a training team to help you set personalized, actionable fitness goals
Professionals consult with training teams that analyze strengths, weaknesses and potential. The training teams then create personalized fitness goals.
You too can consult with a training team to help you create reasonable goals. Choose consultants that perform a comprehensive fitness assessment, one that analyzes your cardiovascular endurance as well as your overall strength and flexibility.
Create the steps to achieving your goals
Next, make specific plans to reach your goals. Steps for adding 10 lbs of muscle mass by the end of the year, for example, would include purchasing a gym membership and the purchase of nutritious, high protein foods.
Train all domains of athletic function
Professionals train across all domains of athletic function, training in areas seemingly unrelated to their sport. Flexibility training seems more suited for a gymnast, for example, but it could help a football player bend his body enough to catch an otherwise incomplete pass.
Trainers define the domains of fitness differently but, in general, they are:
• Aerobic endurance
• Skeletal muscle endurance
• Reaction time
• Speed of movement
Training in a different domain can make you a better athlete too. A study published in a 2012 issue Sports Medicine found that elite athletes had better balance than did amateurs. In that study, researchers found an association between superior balance and faster skating speed in ice hockey players, greater vertical jumps and superior agility. Flexibility and balance also help prevent sports injuries by giving you the ability to regain control in the middle of a fall.
GIVE YOUR BODY PROFESSIONAL-GRADE FUEL
The body of a professional athlete is like a racecar, relying on high quality fuel for peak performance. A statement issued by the American College of Sports Medicine and others provides some worthwhile nutrition goals that can help you train like a pro, such as:
Protein: Between 12 and 20 percent of your calories should come from protein each day. If your training goals focus endurance and strength, aim for 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight daily.
Carbohydrates: 50 to 60 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates.
Fat: Limit your dietary fat to 30 percent of your calorie intake and saturated fat intake to below 10 percent of your caloric intake.
Hydration is essential, as you can lose fluids, electrolytes and weight quickly during strenuous workouts. Drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluids for every pound you lose during exercise. Drink an electrolyte replacement drink if you perspire heavily or have very salty sweat.
Enjoy a protein drink after your workout. Protein drinks give your body the nutrients and energy it needs to repair muscle tissue during the recovery phase.
TAKE A PROBIOTIC
Probiotic supplementation can help athletes stay healthy. We often mistake athletes as the healthiest people around, but the opposite can be true, this population can lead a very stressful life with intense training schedules, stressful lives, and overwhelming physical and mental demands on the body and mind. Respiratory infections are common among athletes; research shows probiotic supplementation can reduce this risk. Other studies suggest beneficial probiotic bacteria can even enhance your performance. One study showed probiotics helped lab mice exercise longer; another study showed supplementation helped athletes run faster on a treadmill in a hot environment. Probiotics also trigger the release of dopamine, a chemical associated with positive mood.
In just a few easy steps, you can train like a pro. Keep at it and someday you may even start performing like a professional athlete!