The world's greatest athletes start preparing for their next big event as soon as their last one ends. They endure a daily cycle of train, eat, train, eat, train, sleep, and repeat. They jump higher, run faster and throw farther.
What keeps them sane? We suspect it's that feeling of being the first to cross the finish line. The sheer joy of nailing a perfect ten. The ultimate dream of bringing home a championship trophy.
And while only a select few truly achieve an elite level in their sport, there are many things us regular folks can learn from these high caliber athletes.
Yes, even you can train like an elite athlete—here’s how.
Elite athletes train specifically for their discipline, with a razor-sharp focus on workouts that will help them perform their best. Adopt this practice by making sure you align your fitness routine with your own personal goals. Want to improve endurance? Concentrate on cardio. Build strength and muscle? Incorporate resistance training. Whatever your fitness goals may be, stick with them. Elite athletes know hard work and determination are as essential as natural-born talent.
Work on Your Form
Mastering proper form, no matter the activity, takes time and focus. Elite athletes spend many hours fine-tuning their technique. The next time you exercise, focus on your form. Whether it is sending concentration to the swing of your arms while running or making sure your shoulders are back and elbows are tight during bicep curls, paying attention to your technique can result in big gains.
Eat Like an Athlete
When it comes to food, shift to an athlete’s mindset. Think of food as fuel and your body as the engine. Experiment with nutrition to find the right mix of carbs, protein and fat that works well for your body to help optimize your performance. And, perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to hydrate.
Have a Plan
Performance athletes customize training plans to their specific schedule and goals. You should too. Create a plan that fits around your regular responsibilities, and then block out time on your calendar for your training, just like you would a meeting or appointment.
Athletes who perform at a high level know the importance of rest and recovery. While it may seem counterintuitive to take a break from your training, rest days will help you improve. Take at least one full day off per week from training. Use your rest day wisely — it is a great time to take a leisurely walk, nap, read a book, meditate and recharge.
Training at a high level can be very complex, forcing you to adapt your exercise and eating habits. Be specific in your training, focus on your form, personalize your nutrition, stick to a plan and optimize rest. You’ll be celebrating your achievements in no time.