If you’re looking to improve your athletic performance, whether for fun or professionally, it can be hard to know where to start. A lot of us can think simply changing up your exercise routine will do the job – but the truth is that’s only one small part of the answer.
While your day-to-day fitness is crucial for athleticism, it also relates to the way your body converts oxygen, the way you train your athletic brain, and ultimately how you take care of your body. Below, we’ll run through some of the items you should consider when looking to become a stronger athlete.
Like we said, exercise is still an important piece of the puzzle. And the plan that you follow should include clear, actionable goals within your exercise and fitness routine. Below are tips to help you achieve this.
Focus on Exercise Plans With Variation
This is critical because otherwise, when repeating the same exercise or plan, you will reach a plateau in both your athletic performance and the results that you see. Plus – it’s not fun. It’s recommended to keep your exercise routine mentally stimulating and fun, to prevent it from feeling like a chore.
Push Yourself – But Not Too Hard
This may sound obvious, but many of the sports injuries that doctors see each year are related to overexertion. In fact, studies recently showed that 30% of college athlete injuries are related to overtraining.
To improve, you do need to push yourself further than your comfort zone – but not beyond your limit. Listen to your body and give yourself a break when you need it.
Track Your Progress
Without properly tracking your progress against clear, realistic goals, how will you know if you’re improving? We recommend setting 3-5 small, achievable goals and then not setting more until you achieve the first set. These could be anything from shaving 10 seconds off of your mile, through to scoring a touchdown.
Write them down somewhere visible and think about them before and after each training session.
Improving Your Brain’s Function
You really can improve your brain function – through something called athletic brain performance training, which is literally brain training specifically designed for athletes. This kind of training can not only help you to achieve your professional and personal goals via increased brain activity – but it may also help ward off cognitive decline and illness in the future. But there are clear benefits for athletes, namely improved ability to track a moving target, shift focus efficiently, and peripheral vision acuity as well as increased focus and concentration, and improved thinking and reaction time.
Understanding Your Baseline
In addition to training your brain, it’s important to understand your baseline brain function. This can be done through a concussion baseline assessment pre-season, and then additional assessments throughout the season. Doing so will enable you to monitor your brain health and could help identify ways to ward off brain injuries and time off the pitch or field.
Caring For Your Body & Recovery
Nourishing Your body
This is simple. Energy in must suffice for the energy out – you must properly nourish your body to enable it to perform at its peak. This includes things like proper hydration during and after exercise, as well as eating a diet designed to help you succeed, rich in protein. It’s recommended to consult with a licensed nutritionist before putting changes in place.
Taking Time To Recover
Alongside eating properly, your body will need time to recover after performance. We encourage rest days, and gentle stretching on them to help your body recover – but it’s also critical to remember to cool down after a workout to prevent injury. Contact us to learn more about our athletic recovery services.
Remember, this list is not exhaustive, this is just the beginning. Peak performance doesn’t have to be out of reach – it begins with a true understanding of where you currently are in your journey. Our Advance Performance packages utilize critical information from baseline assessments to build customized training programs that help you perform better in sport and life.