how to train like an athlete
"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them"
- Michael Jordan
No matter your goal, If you want to be successful at something in life it will definitely require these two things: hard-work and consistency. We have become so accustomed to immediate results in life that some times we expect the same instantaneous change in regards to a training goal. Unfortunately, for most people that change does not happen immediately, but instead requires weeks, months or even years of consistent behavior. Elite athletes like Cam Newton and Lebron James have mastered the art of consistency when training for their sports. Now, you may not be competing for a Super Bowl or an NBA Championship, but that doesn’t mean you can't train like you are. Try implementing these 5 elements that successful athletes have in their routine and train just like one.
- Train early in the morning
Time is the most common obstacle to working out for most people. How often have you convinced yourself that you would do it if only you had more free time in your schedule? If you place your body at the top of your priority list you will make time to workout regardless of the hour, but there are several good reasons to plan your workout in the morning. First, there are way less distractions early in the morning. If you can commit to morning workouts you will be less likely to skip out due to fatigue, work or school responsibilities, etc. But beyond the obvious, your body’s hormones that help build muscle are elevated in the morning so you can take advantage of this natural testosterone peak by training early, the same way most athletes do.
- Find someone to push you
Tom Brady is arguably the most successful quarterback in NFL history. Every offseason he and his receivers go out to California to train together in preparation for the upcoming season, which normally leads to nice playoff run of some sort. The point of this story is, even the best athletes in the world understand the need to workout with people that are going to make you push your body to a higher level than you would alone. Find a training partner, a workout group or a personal trainer that will take you to the next level. Additionally, adding another person in the equation that will hold you accountable will help you stay consistent.
- Identify your strengths & weaknesses
A part of being a great athlete is realizing what areas you need to improve upon. This simply means taking an honest inventory of yourself and figuring out where you excel and where you need to work harder. Once you identify your areas of opportunity the next step is devoting more time and effort to getting better. Don’t overthink this one!
- Train explosive
Now for the actual training. Slow and controlled reps are ideal for most of the general population. But if your goal is to train like an athlete and develop explosive strength and power, you are going to have to turn up the intensity in your workout. This means regularly increasing the tempo in your lifts and mixing up your workouts using equipment and exercises that will challenge your body. Some of my favorite explosive training exercises include: medicine ball slams and throws, weighted squat jumps, tire flips, sled pushes, sledgehammers, plyometric pushups, and barbell thrusters. You can have a lot of fun with your workout here. Just mix it up and be ready to push through the pain.
- Rest, Regenerate & Recover
What you do before and after a workout is just as important as what you do in the actual workout. Resting, eating the right foods, hydrating, stretching and using regeneration strategies can take your body to the next level. Failure to do any of these can and will seriously impede any progress from happening. Some athletes go as far as using ice baths and oxygen therapy to speed up their recovery between training bouts. You may not be willing to go that far but things like foam rolling, massages and stretching can play a major role in how fast your body recovers after a workout. My major piece of advice here is “listen to your body”!
So there you have it. Try including those 5 strategies in your program and see if your performance improves. But most importantly remember to be CONSISTENT and work HARD!
Chaz is a North Carolina A&T alum where he was a 4 year letterman on the football team. Chaz has been a trainer for over 7 years and specializes in High intensity interval training, kettle bells, running and athletic performance. In 2013 Chaz was named Top 50 Hottest Trainers in America (Shape.com). He currently holds certifications by National Council of Strength & Fitness, Kettlebell athletics, and is CPR/AED certified. Chaz currently personal trains at Equinox Wall Street (Equinox.com) and is a Head Instructor at Kore New York (Korenewyork.com). You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @CheiFitness.