You can't help but admire the strength, agility and all-around physical fitness of professional athletes. For obvious reasons, they have to stay in the best shape possible, which means that their training regimens must be top-notch as well. If you're looking to take your physical fitness to the next level, below are 6 tried-and-true tips to help you train like a pro.
1. Don't just stick to sport-specific movements.
This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes amateur athletes tend to make – they focus a little too much on training only the muscles that are used to perform the routine movements that are specific to their sport. For example, a tennis player might spend the bulk of his/her time training their arms and shoulders in hopes of adding power to their stroke, but if they neglect to strengthen their core muscles and legs, they won't have a solid base from which to generate power and explosiveness for their swing. While you should place some emphasis on the muscles that do the bulk of the work in your given sport or activity, you have to add balance to your training regimen in order for all of the muscles in your body to act as one kinetic unit.
2. Train larger muscle groups via compound movements.
Keeping in line with the previous point, isolation workouts are not the best way to go if you want to train like the pros do. It would be much better for you build a strong foundation for overall athleticism by performing compound movements that recruit large muscle groups. This can include squats, lunges, deadlifts, burpees, etc. Also incorporate a variety of movements to improve your overall athleticism, such as jumps, skips, hops, and lateral movements.
Even the most ardent fitness buffs are tempted to skip stretching sometimes, because let's face it – stretching can be boring, especially when you're ready to get down to business. The problem with this is that without taking the time to stretch, your muscles won't be as flexible, leaving them more prone to injury. By taking the time to stretch both before your workouts, you can properly prime those muscles for action – you know, like the pros do.
4. Drink plenty of water.
Professional athletes understand the importance of staying hydrated for peak performance. Keep in mind that your muscles are primarily comprised of water (to the tune of about 80 percent), so if you allow yourself to get dehydrated, it can greatly diminish your capacity to perform. Be sure to drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but if that seems like a little too much, try replacing a glass or two with some water-rich fresh fruits and veggies such as grapes, watermelon, cucumbers, and celery.
5. Focus on getting proper nutrition.
As the famous saying goes, "You can't out-train a bad diet." For many aspiring athletes, nutrition is the make-or-break factor that can either move them forward or hold them back. In fact, your stamina, energy levels and recovery rate are all largely dictated by nutrition. Creating the right kind of diet for optimal performance might seem like a tall order, but it doesn't have to be complicated. Just keep things simple by eating three properly portioned meals per day, along with a couple of snacks in between. Be sure to eat plenty of greens (e.g., kale, spinach, red leaf lettuce, etc.) in order to invigorate your cells and make your body more alkaline. Also be sure to consume some type of protein-rich food source immediately following your workouts in order to aid the recovery process.
6. Stay disciplined.
This is perhaps the most difficult part of training like a pro. You must be willing to stick to the training schedule and regimen that you have created, even on the days when you just aren't feeling it. This separates the average from the elite, and the amateurs from the pros.
Whether you're a tennis buff, a marathoner or a swimming junkie, there's always room for improvement in terms of boosting your physical fitness and athleticism. Start putting the above tips into practice, so that you can train like the pros do!