Make your training as effective as possible by following the lead set by the elites.
1 Do a proper warm-up
Athletes have learnt throughout their careers that to perform at their best, they need to get their bodies ready to perform. Most people’s idea of a warm-up is a couple of static stretches, a small amount of cardio and maybe a bit of foam rolling, but if muscles and tendons are not prepared for the movements that are coming, they will not be able to perform to their maximum, which will limit the efficiency of the movement and the effect gained from it. Essentially, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
2 Train more than once or twice a week
Of course it’s easier for athletes to train every day because it’s their job, but what we can learn from them is that frequency of training not only creates good habits for continued training, but will allow you to challenge various body parts and give them adequate rest and recovery time. Training just once or twice a week makes it difficult to make adaptations in the body, whether your aims are for aesthetic or performance reasons.
3 Don’t go too hard too often
• Modern fitness has a love of all things HIIT. While it has a place in a training plan, it cannot be the only part. Athletes will use high-intensity training periodically to improve cardiovascular function, but not too often because it can increase injury risk and spike stress hormones.
4 Master your movements
Athletes are great at their chosen sport because they’ve spent thousands of hours learning and honing their skills. When the average person chooses to train, they often disregard the need to learn or perfect a movement before increasing the resistance or difficulty. If you’re unable to move correctly, then as the movement gets harder your training efficiency drops and your performance level will also decrease.
5 Focus on recovery
Ever seen a video of some athlete jumping in an ice bath? It looks horrible, but they do it because they know it will aid their recovery, and allow them to train harder and faster sooner. Ice baths are a little outdated now – the latest thing is cryotherapy, and you may have noticed cryo clinics popping up around the place. The extremely low temps cause the brain to divert blood flow to your core to keep vitals like the heart, brain and lungs working. This triggers a release of hormones and anti-inflammatories into the blood. When you leave the pod, blood – enriched with oxygen and hormones – heads back to all parts of the body, helping muscles recover faster. ■