Why should you train like an athlete?
Of course you want to look better. Who doesn’t want to get leaner, have shapely, toned muscles, be stronger and have more endurance? Who wants to have tight muscles, a flat stomach and get rid of those flabby arms and legs?
The trick is, that having those things as your only goals, will only get you so far. You’ll lose interest in your program before it all happens-you know that, you’ve done it before! You won’t push hard enough and you won’t train often enough to see great results.
If on the other hand, you train like an athlete, not only will you get fitter, healthier, stronger, faster and have better endurance, but your body will have no choice, but to look better in the process.
Here are the main reasons you should change your thinking about how you train:
Aerobics and Cardio training are boring and INEFFECTIVE!!
Remember those aerobics instructors from way back? Remember how they did multiple classes each day, but still had big butts and flabby muscles.
I know that you want to think that going for that daily walk or jog is going to get results, but the simple fact of the matter is, it won’t reshape your body or burn off much fat.
In fact, aerobic training actually teaches your body to become more efficient and burn less calories every time you work out. Your body eventually stops responding to the stimulus unless you keep going longer and longer and faster and faster, which of course can’t happen unless you have endless hours up your sleeve.
The only time you should be going for longer runs or rides is if you are actually training for an event that requires you to do so. In that case, sign up for that event be it a fun run, triathlon or other event. Once you’ve decided which event to do, you can set in place the training plan required to get you fit enough in time to take part.
Training indoors is not only boring, but less effective for both your performance and body composition changes. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine.
The average person spends over 90% of their time indoors. Health experts are now seeing more and more people suffering from Vitamin D deficiency which has all kinds of health implications including weak bones and osteoporosis.
People not getting enough sunshine are also much more likely to suffer from depression. So get off that exercise bike, cross trainer or treadmill and get outside to train.
Body building programs are great if you care about how ‘big’ your muscles are and not how well they work
If your goal is to increase your muscle bulk without worrying about improving your health, go ahead and follow the body building guidelines of training each muscle group once or twice per week using heavy weights for multiple sets of 10 or so. IF you push yourself hard enough, your muscles will grow bigger, but you will not lose fat and will not improve your health. Having said that, body building can be a valuable part of an overall fitness program. On it’s own, it will not get you the results you are after.
Training has to be fun
Drop out rates from exercise programs are very, very high. You’ve probably started some program at some stage yourself that you didn’t follow through for very long. The bottom line is, you have to enjoy your training if you are going to keep at it.
Training in a group or with friends is a great way to increase enjoyment from your training program. Friendly competition is always a great way to push yourself harder and get more from your program as well.
Harder, more intense training yields leaner, harder and more muscular bodies
Every looked at marathon and other distance athletes? Noticed how ‘skinny’ they look. Not healthy looking at all! Compare them to sprinters and cyclists. Now they have great, lean, strong, healthy looking bodies.
Long, lower intensity training sessions result in high Cortisol levels in your body. Too much Cortisol will make you fat and sick. Shorter bursts of high intensity training result in the release of hormones that increase your muscle and burn fat fast. So not only are you getting fitter, but you are improving your body composition at the same time. After these types of training sessions you will also increase the ‘calorie burn’ for hours afterwards.
So what’s the solution? What does ‘Train Like An Athlete’ mean?
If you train like an athlete, you think about improving your performance instead of just concentrating on what you look like. Athletes are all about getting faster, jumping higher, lifting heavier or going longer. Their great bodies are a side effect of all that ‘athletic’ training.
You may try to improve the speed you can run, or how many burpees you can do in a minute. You may be working on being able to get through a whole core set without putting your knees down or stopping to rest. You may increase the weight you are lifting for the same number of repetitions or for the same time frame. Or you could be trying to lift that same weight more times before the stop watch clicks over.
These types of goals are much more achievable, and when you achieve them, you can be sure that you are stronger or fitter in some way-all leading towards having a stronger, fitter, leaner body.
Each training session should focus on your whole body and working it as one unit. Not isolating certain muscles to create imbalances or exasperate imbalances that you already have. You should be working on not just your ‘abs’ but your whole core from your toes to your head.
Do sets of exercises that work your cardiovascular system and improve your heart health. Go for longer, go harder and do more sets. Keep up with such and such who always beats you in running sets.
Or push so and so harder on leg switches.
Do more burpees or 6-counters than the person beside you. Always push to do your best and make coming to training worth the time you took to do so.
So next time you attend training, pick up a heavier weight and pair yourself with someone you know will push just that bit harder than you usually do and keep up with them today.