You might not compete to the Olympics, but your diet and exercise program should do more than just sculpting your physique. It should improve your performance, boost balance and strengthen your functional movements. Although there’s no fool-proof plan that can help you achieve better athletic performance, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you optimize your athletic performance:
Optimizing Athletic Performance through Nutrition
Never Exercise on an Empty Stomach
Exercising on an empty stomach will affect the quality of your workout. When you don’t eat, the brain puts the body in a starvation mode. When this occurs, the body will hold onto as much fat as it possibly can and that’s not a good thing. To train longer and harder, you need fuel. And you can get fuel from the food you eat. Instead of skipping breakfast, take a small piece of fruit with you. Eat it at least an hour before you exercise.
Load up on Complex Carbs
Complex carbs are slow-burning carbohydrates that balance the glucose level in the blood. Unlike simple carbs, complex carbohydrates will help you feel fuller for longer while curbing cravings. Instead of noshing on white rice, white pasta or white bread, get your carbs from fresh fruits, vegetables, and starchy root crops. Avoid foods with refined flour or sugar and choose whole foods that contain lots of antioxidants!
Take Healthy Fats
Did you know that healthy fats can help you achieve the best shape of your life? And that beneficial fats may improve your athletic performance significantly? Essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 reduce inflammation, boost circulation while protecting the heart from tissue breakdown. Studies show that saturated fats from processed foods can decrease blood circulation 4 hours after eating. Better blood circulation is critical in boosting sports performance!
Optimizing Athletic Performance through Exercise
Leave the heavy lifting to bodybuilders and focus on building muscle strength. You can do that by mixing up your lifting routine. Instead of lifting weights to boost muscle growth, choose compound movements like power cleans and squats. These moves will increase speed, endurance, and power. You can still do bits of heavy lifting but make sure add lightweight speed lifts to heavy lifting for best results.
Choose an Upbeat Tempo
Instead of performing every exercise in slow, deliberate movements, move the weights in an upbeat tempo. The rapid motion will engage the muscles and build pressure. Lift the weights with everything you’ve got to build power.
There’s nothing wrong with doing your cardio indoors but if you want to improve your athletic performance, take your cardio outside. We recommend adding hill sprints, roller blading or mountain biking to your fitness plan. You can also improve agility, balance and control by performing drills in an open field.
Take Cat Naps
Never underestimate the power of a cat nap. Your body must get sufficient rest after a particularly brutal workout. You can do that by taking 20 to 30-minute cat nap after working out. While at rest, the body will repair worn muscles and recharge itself so you can take another challenging exercise the next day!