- They understand the importance of recovery
You may fall in the group that does not work hard enough, but you may also fall into the category that thinks they never need a rest day. Recovery days should be planned the same way a high intensity day is planned. Professional athletes use many techniques for recovery such as massage, yoga, dry needling, acupuncture, light exercise and many more.
I’m sure most of you have heard of Lebron James. Check out this article that gives a glimpse of his recovery after games.
You can find those Normatec compression sleeves here by the way for my local readers.
The bottom line is that recovery is extremely important in reaching your goals. You should have at least one rest day each week and you should also have full weeks that are geared towards recovery after every 4-8 weeks of training. If you have hit a plateau, it’s possible that a recovery week is just what you need. You can still work out, just scale it back a bit.
- They make nutrition a priority
Most successful athletes understand that proper nutrition will give them the competitive edge. They never go to practice on a completely empty stomach. They know that to perform with full effort for 1-2 hours, they need fuel. One of the most common mistakes I see is people (especially females) do not consume enough calories. Here are some general rules for how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis:
Lose weight: 10-12 calories per pound of bodyweight
Maintain current weight: 12-14 calories per pound of bodyweight
Gain weight: 14-16 calories per pound of bodyweight
This is just a starting point! Many people who are active will need to increase their calories even more.
For a 150 lb female looking to lose weight, that comes to 1500-1800 calories per day. The key is quality calories! Just remember to base your diet around whole foods!
- They are prepared
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say they either ate something bad or didn’t eat at all because they were in a rush. Again, this article is about successful people. You wouldn’t come up with some lame excuse to your boss for not completing a project or failing to do something properly. However, you always have an excuse for why you didn’t make the better choice when it comes to nutrition or getting to the gym. Here are a few tips to prepare for your week/next day:
- Meal prep for the week. Make it a ritual. A routine that works for most is cooking in bulk on Sunday. This provides ready to eat food for most of the week.
- Buy healthy snacks. There are so many healthy options now available to us. Whether it be a protein shake, apple, nuts, or a healthy protein bar, you really have no excuses. Keep these at your office, in your purse, pantry, or anywhere that will help you stay on track.
- Stop procrastinating. Of course you can’t “find time” to make it to the gym if you have laundry to do, meals to cook, and errands to run. Again, come up with a schedule or a routine that works for you. For example, my routine is that on Sundays I grocery shop, do laundry for the week (especially work and workout clothes), meal prep and do any chores I won’t have time for during the week. This enables me to workout because I have freed up my time.
- They are pushed by others
I have to be careful with this one because so many people are misled by the high intensity craze where every single workout has to be past your limits. However, a good accountability partner is something that will help you reach your goals quicker than you thought possible. The key is choosing a friend that at least halfway knows what they are doing and is reliable, i.e. on time and consistent. Athletes have their teammates and opposing teams to push them. You need a friend, coach or trainer that will help you to keep going when you feel like stopping. Showing up is half the battle, and a scheduled appointment whether with a friend or trainer is a great first step to reaching your goals.
- They aren’t too cool for “wimpy” exercises
I know that the bench press, power cleans and heavy deadlifts are sexy, hardcore lifts. However, there are some “wimpy” warm-ups and corrective exercises that should be in your program to address weaknesses, fix imbalances, and activate the right muscles before performing the sexy lifts. Before heavy lower body lifts for example, the body will perform better if you have warmed up the glutes and core with activation exercises such as band walks, bridges, clamshells, and dead bugs among others. Give this a try and you will feel a difference the very first time.
- Most important: They are CONSISTENT
I saved this one for last because it is the most important concept that you must get in order to achieve the results you are after. Even if you follow a sub-par program, if you are consistent you will still get much better results than someone following the best program available that doesn’t stick to it. Show up, work hard day after day, week after week and you will see positive results.
Be consistent with your nutrition, workouts, and sleep to maximize your results.
Treat your fitness journey as a professional athlete would treat their journey to the pros. They know that to be the best version of themselves, it is going to be a lifelong commitment. There is no 21 day fix that will make a benchwarmer become an all-star and there is no 21 day fix that will take you from a couch potato to a cover model.
Being fit is a lifelong journey. Accept that, embrace the challenge, and have pride in knowing that you achieved your body through consistent hard work while your friends are struggling with their yo-yo dieting and new years resolutions.