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7 Secrets To Increase Athletic Performance

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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.

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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 January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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