Training like an athlete is more important than you think
Athletes come in many forms with different backgrounds and goals – so simply saying “Train like an athlete” cannot cover it all. Marley McDonogh from ArcadiumHQ believes it’s about the need to develop the same discipline and consistency that an athlete would, in order to achieve your own elusive fitness goals.
“Whether your goals are to perform at an elite competitive level, tighten up that physique before stepping up on stage, rehabilitate that injury, increase mobility and flexibility or improve your quality of life with health and fitness, adapting the mindset and habits of an athlete is going to greatly increase your chances of success,” Marley says.
While many factors play a role in the training of an athlete, for the sake of simplicity Marley focuses on a four point plan that can be adapted to suit many potential health and fitness outcomes.
The four factors are habits, structure, consistency and recovery, and it is important to note that the primary factor that binds these four together is discipline.
“An athlete’s day to day routine comes from the development of habits that greatly assist their overall performance and ability to reach and exceed their goals,” Marley says.
“Things that the average people struggle with, like adequate nutrition, intensity and frequency of training, progressive development in exercise and effective recovery; an athlete has built a lifestyle that habitually executes these factors with limited forced effort.”
Marley says this initially may require conscious behaviours and vigilance in repeating the behaviours until they become habitual subconscious constructs in your daily routines. Developing habits that assist you in reaching your goals will greatly increase your chances of success and maintain motivation.
Have a structure and create a plan. Most athletes have a structured plan consisting of a program directly related to their desired outcome, a nutritional guideline in relation to their goal and regimented recovery protocols in order to greatly enhance their training.
“Whether you are running a periodised strength program or in a caloric deficit in order to lose weight, it is important to have the correct programming and nutritional structure that is symbiotic to yourself and your goals,” Marley says.
Structure your days and weeks around your programming and weekly/daily intake. Structure your week/weeks in advance in order to maximise your adherence to your programming and nutritional guideline.
“The main difference between an athlete and the average exercise enthusiast is consistency,” Marley says. “Being consistent with your habits and structure will be what separates you from the average.”
You have developed some good habits and have a structured plan to set you up to achieving your goals, but without consistency in implementing these factors you will greatly limit your chances of success. This is where discipline plays a large role.
If an athlete has to stick to a training regimen with set frequency and intensity or caloric nutritional guidelines with macro nutrient structure in order to achieve a desired outcome, they will. If you have a weekly calorie target, hit it and do not exceed the recommended amount within reason. If you have a training program that states five 1 hr training days a week then train for 1 hr 5 days a week. Be consistent with your plan. Not for one week, not for one month but rather for the duration needed, to achieve your desired results.
Recovery as an athlete is just as important as training like one. Without adequate recovery it will be difficult to maintain the frequency and consistency in training for a prolonged period of time.
“It is important to allow your body to recover from the loads and stimulus imposed on your body in order to prevent injuries or chronic fatigue,” Marley says. “When we say recovery we are not saying you should sit on a couch for two days eating pizza, but rather implement strategies that assist your body to recover and continue to perform at this level of frequency and intensity.”
Manual recovery strategies like massage, steam and sauna, foam rolling, stretch and release work can stimulate blood flow, release tight muscular structures, increase potential mobility and assist in limiting potential injuries. Active recovery strategies like decreasing the weight loads for a period of time, walking or light cardio, decreasing the impact or intensity of your daily exercise can also assist in recovery.
It is important to note that nutrition, hydration and sleep are of paramount importance when it comes to recovery.
“Train like an athlete, eat like an athlete and sleep like an athlete,” Marley says.
Adapting the mindset and training practices of an athlete will allow you to greatly increase your ability to crush those health and fitness goals.
“Even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, there is so much we can learn from their practices and implement them into our own fitness careers in order to enhance our own results,” Marley says.
Interview and article by Sarah Morgan ‘Core Communications Group’ http://www.corecommunications.com.au/