Whether it’s because you want to be the best at what you do or want to reach a personal milestone, athletes are always on the lookout when it comes to ways of enhancing their performance.
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Others have turned to less than favorable means to up their game. Taking performance-enhancing drugs is perhaps one of the easiest and simplest way to do this. However, it comes with a hefty price that is detrimental to one’s long-term health. Its concoction of unsavory effects includes severe acne, infertility, increased risk for tendon rupture, tumors. These are just a few of the long list of health risks to expect when you rely on synthetic drugs to boost your athletic performance.
A fair share of professional athletes has even raised eyebrows when found out about using drugs when competing. This has been the source of some of the most controversial news stories in sports history.
While it seems easy enough, it’s fair to say that taking performance-enhancing drugs is not the way to go when you’re trying to push your athletic performance. And, after all, going the easy route is hardly ever worth it in the end.
So, we’d like to give out a few tips and tricks on how you can up your athletic performance in natural ways. Trust us when we say that these steps are just small tweaks that are easy to incorporate into your fitness regimen.
It’s been established that having good nutrition is needed to achieve good health. Eating the right food is a way for us to get the right nutrients to get us going. Additionally, it also aids in recovery. This is why athletes need to eat healthily. Some, if not all, athletes even take dietary supplements as part of their daily regimen.
Before a workout, and just after waking up, it’s important to replenish your glycogen stores. It is generally advised to eat an hour or four hours before starting your workout for proper digestion.
Pre-workout meals should be high and carbohydrates and easy to digest. Food rich in carbs includes bread, pasta, fruits, and energy bars.
Approximately an hour or two after a workout, you should consume high-quality protein foods. This is for you to have a sort of refill on your glycogen stores while your muscles repair themselves with protein. This process is called muscle protein synthesis. Some folks opt to drink protein shakes after each workout.
And, of course, you should stay away from junk food.
Aside from having proper nutrition, being well-hydrated while on the move is just as important. Drinking adequate amounts of water increases energy, enhances movement and speed, and even aids in recovery. Having proper hydration also prevents muscle fatigue which is a common cause of injury.
An easy way to figure out how much water you should drink is to divide your body weight (pounds) in half and drink at least an ounce of water per pound. Of course, you should also adjust your water intake according to how intense your workout is. It’s also recommended to up your water intake if you’re working out in a specially hot environment.
Why do you need to warm-up? While you might be thinking that the main workout is the most critical part of your routine, that’s not necessarily the case. Warming up before an exercise session (and even cooling down after) is just as important.
Warming up increases blood flow to your muscles while raising your body temperature. This results in more oxygen supply delivered to your muscles that are essential for better performance. The more high-intensity your activity is, the more oxygen you need to push your performance further.
When you warm up, it also prepares your muscle for the upcoming workout. By doing this, the strain and movements that you subject your body to are less severe - this then minimizes your risk for injury.
Track your performance and progress
Without tracking your progress, you can’t know what your standing is. And, without any baseline data, there’s no way for you to know if you’re experiencing any progress or if you’ve fallen back, or even plateaued in terms of performance.
So, it is necessary for you to at least take note of your standing. Depending on what you’re trying to improve on or achieve, you should take note of one or several factors. For example, if you’re trying to achieve faster runs, it will be useful for you to track your time and distance covered.
While kinesio taping reviews tend to be polarized, numerous athletes have sworn that these vividly-colored tapes have helped them somehow when it comes to their athletic performance. Bringing with it a slew of benefits, what kinesiology tape does is lift the skin off the muscle to promote better fluid circulation.
Another taping benefit is that it lessens the risk for injury. Since the tape supports weaker limbs, it reduces muscle spasms and aids in muscle strength “because it can help improve the movement of joints while regulating muscle tone.”
If you're new to taping, in this article. we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about kinesio tapes. If you're looking to start your taping journey, check out our shop to get the taping supplies that you'll ever need.
Make Time for Recovery
As you test your limits and push yourself further each time you train, you must designate a time for your body to recover after, what we safely call "your body taking a beating." After all, when you engage in high-intensity workouts or activities, your muscles literally tear or break down.
Muscle tears are not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it is needed for your muscles to grow and get stronger. For this cycle of "tear-and-repair" (aka muscle protein synthesis) to happen, you need to set aside time for adequate rest and recovery.
Without proper recovery time, the process of muscle tissue down will continue. Signs that you are overtraining yourself include malaise, staleness, and even depression. And, it can also lead you to decreased performance and higher chances of injury.
Most athletes or active folks designate a rest day or several rest days in a week for recovery. Some set aside 1 to 2 days. Or, depending on what you’re comfortable with, it could be longer. Everyone is different.
What you should take note though is that it's important to listen to your body. So, taking several more days to rest or recover if you feel like you need it is okay.
Get Enough Sleep
We can all agree that sleep is essential for everyone. Whether you’re an athlete or not, you need adequate sleep to function properly.
There are tons of research studies that indicate how increasing sleep quantity and quality improves athletic performance. And, inversely, how poor sleep quality negatively impacts athletes' performance. SleepFoundation.org discusses this in-depth.
Nine hours of sleep is what’s generally advised for athletes.
While it’s infinitely easier to take the easy route when you want to enhance your athletic performance, actually doing the work and building that routine affords you a mountain of benefits in the long run. The few simple tweaks that we talked about in this article are easy enough to remember. So, we urge you to keep on keeping on!