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7 Secrets To Increase Athletic Performance

7 Secrets To Increase Athletic Performance

It has been argued that modern day athletes are becoming faster, stronger and better every year. In one TED Talk, David Epstein compared Usain Bolt’s performance to Jesse Owens in 1936. Jesse Owens once had the world record for 100 meter dash, but if Jesse Owens competed at the same time as Usain Bolt, he would have been 14 feet behind Usain Bolt.

We are living in a time wherein we have accumulated a complex understanding of sports science, nutrition and supplementation. We have applied different approaches to give athletes an edge on their sports.

If you are an athlete, or plan to become one, you need to maximize your potential. What are the secrets to increasing athletic performance? Here are seven things that you need to implement.

1. Eating the right food at the right time

Food plays a crucial role in athletic performance. An athlete can’t afford to eat anything and expect the best results on their body. An athlete’s meal should be cleaner than the meal of an average Joe. Serious athletes can’t regularly eat junk food.

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This is why there are nutritionists specific for athletes. Nutritionists can create meals that are designed for different functions. Depending on the time when the food is consumed, it plays a different role. It can easily be a recovery meal, or a meal which will be used as fuel for performance.

One of the most basic things that athletes need to do is to have a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast can stop your body from catabolizing the muscles, and even jump start your metabolic rate. If you are not used to eating breakfast, you can always start eating a small meal first thing in the morning, then move up to a full and complete breakfast.

It is also important to choose the right meal before a workout. It should contain not only carbohydrates that can be used for fuel, but sufficient amounts of protein which could prevent catabolism during intense workouts.

2. Eat the right supplements at the right time

There are instances when you just can’t only rely on the food that you eat. There are times when you will need to consume supplements to provide your body with the necessary macronutrients, vitamins and minerals.

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The most basic supplement that you can have is vitamins. This way, you don’t have to eat so much food just to fill in the vitamin and mineral requirements of the body.

Whey protein is a popular pre- and post-workout supplement among athletes. Whey provides and replenishes protein in an athlete’s body, allowing faster recovery and muscle development. Together with whey are branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are known to be anti-catabolic and are easily absorbed by the skeletal muscles.

There are also fat supplements, such as conjugated linoleic acids, used to increase metabolic rate and to prevent muscle catabolism. Some invest in stimulant-based pre-workouts in order to boost mental alertness. Of course, before you invest in supplements, you should be aware of the side effects. Supplements are only a secondary source of nutrients among athletes.

3. Focus on functional exercises

In order to hone athletic abilities, it is imperative to have the right workout for the right sport. In most situations, isolation exercises won’t get the job done. The usual regimen of bodybuilders won’t be beneficial for athletes. Body sculpting is the least of an athlete’s concern. In fact, there are athletes who don’t look muscular.

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Here is when functional exercises enter the picture. Functional routines aim to mimic the movements needed in an athlete’s usual activity. Its focus is not only to improve movements, but to augment possibilities of an injury.

Samples of functional exercises include goblet squats, deadlifts, Olympic lifts, split squats and variant isolation exercises that have been combined with each other. The reason why it is called functional exercise is because of the inclusion of different muscle groups.

4. Drills

Another important detail that athletes should take into consideration is the way they train. One of the best ways to improve athletic performance is by repeating the same movements over and over again. This helps improve the neuro-muscular reaction among athletes.

If you ever wondered how athletes react so fast to different scenarios, it is because of the specific drills that they have been doing over and over again. It helps them reduce the lag time in certain scenarios.

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5. Mix-up your workout every three weeks

Muscle memory is your body adapting to the stressful scenario that it encounters. For athletes, workouts, drills and regimens are considered stress. Muscle memory explains how you master certain movements when done repeatedly. Unfortunately, sticking to the same workout over and over again may not give you the best results.

Muscle confusion can produce significant results to an athlete. Changing your workout every three weeks can help the body get the most results, especially when you feel that you are already used to performing the different routines and drills.

6. Log your performance and improvement

Athletes need to have an idea how much they’ve accomplished. Did you become a bit faster? Did you become stronger? Keep track of your performance, how much you’ve improved, and what you still need to work on. This gives you a concrete idea on how much work still needs to be done. This can also give you an idea of the things that you can improve on.

7. Include conditioning in your routine

Athletes take their time to improve and refine their techniques. For example, basketball players perform shooting practices for hours, while soccer players are doing the same kick over and over. Instead of simply focusing on technique, it is also a good idea for athletes to focus on conditioning.

By incorporating conditioning exercises during these routines, you train the body to nail the activity even when you are already tired.

If you wish to improve your performance as an athlete, it isn’t enough that you are just dedicated to your craft. It is equally important to work smart on how you approach training, nutrition and even rest. With what we have today, it is possible to you maximize your athletic ability to the fullest.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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