Have you ever wanted to look like your favourite athlete?

Lean, muscular and as fit as can be…

Well to look like an athlete you need to think, behave and train like one.

I’ve listed some of the characteristics of a professional athlete below. These are all things that you can apply to your own day to day behaviours and habits to give yourself the best chance to get in the shape of your life and stay there.

Follow A Structured Training Program

Going into the gym and simply doing what you feel like on the day just isn’t going to cut it.

To achieve optimal physical appearance and fitness you need to be following a structured training program.

Figure out what areas of your training need to be focused on the most, for example;

-Strength

-Power

-Hypertrophy

-Cardiovascular/aerobic fitness

-Speed & agility

-Flexibility & mobility etc

Once you’ve figured out your weak points you need to put together a structured program that will allow you to improve on these areas over time and continue to maintain, if not improve your current strengths also.

Side note: Recovery is just as important as training and it should be a main priority.

Some forms of recovery which may benefit you include; Getting adequate sleep (6+ hours per night), myo-fascial release work (foam roller, spikey ball etc), nutition & hydration, contrast therapy, deep tissue massage, mobility & stretching.

Discipline

 It takes a huge amount of discipline to wake up each day and simply get the job done, regardless of whether you feel like it or not.

‘It’s often on the days that you couldn’t think of anything worse than training that you make the most progress towards your goals’.

This is definitely something that can be taught and trained but there are no shortcuts to improving your discipline, it requires you to take consistent action.

World Class Nutrition

To consistently train at a high standard you need to be providing your body with the proper fuel it needs.

This means eating adequate amounts of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, sufficient vitamins and minerals and enough calories to fuel your sessions and recovery post-workout.

Hydration also falls under this category, so ensure you are well hydrated at all times as just the slightest bit of dehydration can lead to a significant decrease in performance and concentration.

Variety & Varied Training Intensities

Even professional athletes don’t do the same thing every single day.

Why?

Because not only is that boring as hell, but it’s also counter-productive in getting the results you’re after.

Nobody can continually train at a high intensity day in day and not eventually breakdown or have a dramatic decrease in performance. Your training schedule should include some sort of de-load or reduced training intensity sessions.

Allow for some form of variety in your sessions. An example of a full week of training including variety with training styles and intensity may look something like this:

Monday: Strength training

Tuesday: High intensity interval training (HIIT) session + yoga or pilates

Wednesday: Strength training + sport specific training or game

Thursday: Rest day + mobility and stretching

Friday: Strength training and HIIT

Saturday: Aerobic session and/or yoga or pilates

Sunday: Rest day

‘Flexibility and variability is the key to sustainability’.

Specific Goals

Every athlete clearly has a specific goal in mind when attacking a training session or even a training block in general.

Now obviously an olympic sprinter is going to have a very different goal compared to what you will, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be setting specific goals.

Example of a non-specific goal: “I want to lose weight”

The problem with a non specific goal is that it’s easy to lose accountability if there’s no end point.

Example of a specific goal: “I want to lose 5kg in 10 weeks”.

The benefit of setting a specific goal is that you are a lot more likely to stay accountable as not only is there is the possibility that you might fail but you can also map out a clear plan on how to achieve it. You can now also set smaller targets or milestones along the way that will eventually lead you to achieving the ultimate goal that has been set.

Suggestion: Tell the people close to you about your goal. This will keep you accountable and allow for others to encourage you on the days or weeks that you might be slacking off or feeling low in motivation.

Consistency

The worlds greatest training or nutrition program is completely useless if you don’t stick to it.

Ticking off the boxes every single day is what will ultimately lead to you being where you want to be in regards to your health and fitness. One good week here and there isn’t going to be enough, it needs to become a lifestyle change and something that’s part of your daily routine.

Consistency IS the key.

So there you have it, there’s definitely a good reason why most athletes look the way they do. It won’t happen over night but by creating good habits you too can achieve your very own peak physical condition.