Athletes- or the New Age Kratos (Greek God of Strength)
Aren’t athletes really the new age Kratos? As it doesn’t only require physical strength, but it is crucial to have the strongest mental states in order to follow through the disciplines and hold an unshakable desire to win every milestone. The life of an athlete is no less than a soldier, guarding their own path towards success and battling every challenge to come out stronger than ever. It isn’t just a few months of frequent and flexible training that makes an athlete, but in fact, years of rigorous conditioning to reach just the warm up of the game day.
All things athletic performance.
Working on one’s athletic performance has not one but many metrics to go by. Every sport has its own requirements and the athlete is supposed to perform his/her own sports specific training. Although, these four major dimensions are need to be worked on regardless of which sports the athlete belongs to:
- Skill- Every sport requires its specific skill, but concentration and expertise are the most common requirement.
- Strength- The capacity of an athlete to withstand great force and pressure is what strength can be defined as.
- Endurance- The ability of an athlete to perform an exercise for a long period of time is measured as endurance.
- Recovery- The most underrated practice. In order for an athlete to consistently perform well, it is necessary for the body and the muscles to give the needed rest. Recovery in athletic performance also refers to the speed at which an athlete can heal or get back in the game after an injury.
Just training for a particular sport and even winning positions in it doesn’t put an end to an athlete’s work. This field demands consistent improvements in the athlete’s physical state as well as game in order to have a longer shelf life. As fitness can never be a destination, it is an ongoing journey where one needs to find ways to always be a few percent better than yesterday.
A few ways that athletes can enhance their performance are:
- Change your workouts as much as you change your wardrobe.
Functional exercises are like the crux of athletic performance. Training as an athlete, your goal should not be to target aesthetics of your body, to get bulkier or leaner. In fact, it is all about enhancing the abilities of your body like response time, muscle strength and endurance and the mental presence on the field or in the game.
Functional exercises should always be a part of an athlete's regime as they help work out the muscles that are used the most during the game. Along with functional training though, one should always try new workouts and include exercises from different movement practices.
It is advised to change your workout routine every 3 months, as your body gets used to the current routine. If you find yourself stuck with the growth of your workouts, it's probably because your body has adapted to the routine. In such cases changing and making additions to the exercises can make a major difference.
- Track and fast-track your performance.
There is a sea full of fitness tracking devices and this technology keeps growing every day, because what can we say, techies, love athletes!
There are a lot of wearables that athletes can make use of which would not only track their performance but provide them options to set up different monitoring programs. Tracking can be very useful for athletes to evaluate their performance rather than just blindly working every day. The numbers at times, can also be very motivating to set chunked down milestones towards the bigger ones. Why shouldn’t athletes have some fun too, right?
- Hydrate and vibrate higher!
With such vigorous training every day, hydrating is a very important aspect.
During your workout, your muscles tend to produce heat and this leads to a rise in core body temperature. Sweating is just your body’s mechanism of cooling down. In an intense workout session, your body can sweat out a lot of water, to ensure you are not dehydrated keep sipping water throughout.
Drinking enough water also ensures you don’t end up with cramps that could affect your training.
- Rest, don't regret it.
It is very easy for an athlete to be so involved in the training that he/she forgets that they aren’t superhuman yet. Giving rest days to your body can make you feel guilty at times, for it may make you feel less productive. While you might be actively resting, your body is always working. Recovery is one of the most important aspects of training. It can be done by simply taking rest days, stretching (active or passive) and it is usually suggested for an athlete to enrol themselves up for some massage sessions as their routine is a lot more intense than a regular person at the gym. Hoping into the sauna on your rest days once in a while could also be a great way to recover.
- Don’t forget to train your brain.
If being an athlete was only all about physical fitness and performance wouldn’t there be a lot more athletes in the game? But the truth is, it takes a lot more than physical aspects to thrive as an athlete. Many field sports like football, basketball, soccer, cricket, etc, require one to make quick on the spot decisions, individually and at times even for the group. The reaction time cannot be delayed. Hence, an athlete needs to train the brain as well. This can be done by a lot of cognitive performance exercises, sports vision training, and memory enhancing exercises.
It is a wholesome effort to be Kratos.
- Eat like an athlete.
It goes without saying that an athlete’s diet has got to be way different than the weight watchers. One needs to be very strategic about what and when they consume on a daily basis, as you are what you eat, isn’t it? Every meal in your day should be balanced with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Meals after training are crucial as well, because they need to be planned in a way that helps you restore the nutrients you lost and speed up your recovery process. Food plays a major role to aid the recovery process. If you expect your body to do so much for you, you have to meet it halfway by nourishing it with all the love and power.
- Supplements can really do you some good.
Everyone needs a little external help sometimes, for athletes, supplements can be it. It is a lot to keep in mind while on training programs and at times you might lack getting all the macronutrients solely from your meals. One should feel no shame in adding a few basic supplements to their diet as all they would do is compliment the whole process. A healthy dose of Vitamin A, C, D, E, B12 can be game changers for you. As immunity can be achieved through such a healthy dose of multivitamins, there is no harm in including them in your daily routine, as immunity is another important aspect as an athlete which can ensure a healthy and happy journey for you without being the hiccups in between.
Are consuming health supplements a non-negotiable part of athletic life?
Optimal athletic performance can always be achieved with planned nutrition and hydration. But athletes are also humans, and might find it challenging at times to keep so many things in track, this is where supplements can take charge for a few needs. Of course, it goes without saying that supplements can never be a replacement to your nutritious diet but they should be considered as tools to complement your hard work. There are some supplements which can help an athlete enhance their performance but they definitely cannot take the place of a nutrient dense diet.
Supplements and their role:
- Antioxidants (vitamin C, E) -Due to excess oxygen consumption during exercise free radical formation damages muscle cells. Antioxidants help reduce this damage, but it does not help reduce muscle inflammation, soreness, and fatigue. They also have little or no effect on aerobic fitness and endurance activities performance.
- Arginine (an amino acid in foods that contain protein) When consumed as a supplement the body converts it into nitric oxide, expanding blood vessels and increasing blood flow. This increased blood flow helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles that have been worked on and speeds up the flush out of waste products that cause muscle fatigue.
- Beta-alanine (an amino acid in meats) The body uses beta-alanine to produce carnosine in skeletal muscles. This helps reduce the build-up of lactic-acid, and prevents the body from excess tiredness. Beta-alanine also leads to small performance enhancement in team sports and swimming.
- BCAAs Branched chain amino acids (animal products) Amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine together are known as BCAAs. These can be used by your muscles to provide energy and also build muscle.
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, and energy drinks) Controlled amounts of caffeine can give you a boost on your energy levels and might as well reduce fatigue for a few hours. It also holds a reputation of improving endurance and strength.
- Creatine (animal-based foods) Apart from creatine being produced by our own bodies, taking a larger amount of creatine from dietary supplements might help increase strength, power, and the ability to create a contraction in muscles for maximum effort.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (better call it DHEA) When you consume DHEA, your body converts it into testosterone, which enhances muscle size and strength.
- Glutamine (foods containing protein) This amino acid is used by the body to produce energy.
- Iron- If people with iron deficiency consume an iron supplement, it can definitely help boost their performance in strength and endurance activities.
- Sodium Bicarbonate- Helps improve performance in intense, short-term activities like sprinting and swimming.
Mapping out a supplement plan already?
Too much, or too little of anything can never do your bodies any good. There might be few people who solely believe in their diet to be the only source of nourishing their body, and think of supplements as an unnecessary expense. We don’t argue that they might be wrong, but they could also make an effort to get their vitals checked up and ask for professional advice. Of course, nobody is asking you to stock up a compartment full of supplements and make your pay day feel sorry for you. All we suggest is to look out for yourself and make an informed decision.
It is also important that one does their own little research on the potential brand for supplements. The brand with the most natural ingredients is what you would want to choose. We at BBETTER are very transparent about the ingredients we include in the production of supplements for you. If you don’t believe us, feel free to conduct a thorough study.
After all, the medical advances are always for the people, and not to snatch away anything from them if the people make informed choices.
Always working for you to make healthy choices and thrive.