There’s value in working smarter rather than harder, especially when it comes to your athletic performance. For many aspiring athletes, much of this comes down to sorting out valuable information from misinformation and overcoming their egos.
You don’t need expensive equipment and fad diets to master your craft. Here are six natural ways to improve your athletic performance — and your overall health.
Supplement Your Nutrition When Necessary
There’s no better source of nutrients than real food. Eating a nourishing diet with a well-rounded balance of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, and vegetables is the best way to fuel your body for training. Unfortunately, we live in a fast-paced world that makes eating well a challenge.
Supplements can help fill the gaps in your nutrition when eating what your body needs isn’t an option. You can use a resource like Wellness Nova to find natural supplements to correct your nutritional imbalances. Consider adding protein powder to your diet if your goal is to build muscle. If you haven’t been to the doctor for a check-up recently, it’s also worth having a blood panel done to highlight any deficiencies.
The more you can support your body at this basic level, the better your athletic performance and recovery will become.
Prioritize Rest and Restoration
Entering the fitness world in a “no excuses” society can be damaging and overwhelming. However, it’s important that beginners understand that rest periods are essential for long-term results. If you don’t incorporate rest days into your training, you’re more likely to burn out or get injured.
Prioritize active rest days in your training schedule. If you feel the need to move, practice lighter activities that get your blood flowing without taxing your tired muscles. Sometimes your body might tell you that you need an unscheduled rest day. It’s important to listen to those cues and cut yourself some slack.
Make Time for Mobility Warm-Ups
If you have a tight schedule and struggle to fit in your training, warm-ups and stretching are often the first thing to get cut from the routine. This is a tragic mistake that could derail your progress.
Dedicating time to intentional mobility training will ensure your body is strong throughout the entire range of movement. This strength means that you’ll maintain form and prevent injuries. Warming up your muscles before a workout improves muscle activation so that they’re getting optimal results from the work you put in.
In other words, if you want to see your athletic performance improve, set aside 20 minutes for a warm-up and shorten the active training portion of your workout.
Track Your Progress
Sometimes it’s hard to see subtle improvements in one’s athletic performance. Feeling stuck can cause disengagement and a lack of motivation. By tracking your progress, you’ll be able to identify those small changes and stay the course. Additionally, you’ll see patterns that help identify the underlying issues that impede your performance.
When you track your workouts, make a note about how you felt and if there were any other factors (for example, inadequate sleep the night before) that could be influencing your training.
Master the Basics
Whether you’re focusing on nutrition, exercise, or mobility, the importance of mastering the basics cannot be understated. Take nutrition, for example. Before you start worrying about nutrient timing or supplementation, get into a routine of eating consistently healthy meals that support your training. As you master the basics of nutrition, you can start to hone your practice with targeted nutrition goals and timing.
The same logic applies to your training. Don’t let your ego push you past the point of diminishing returns. Get into a habit of regular training, focus on quality movement, then increase the intensity when you have the basics down pat.
Before you jump aboard the bandwagon for the next miracle solution to improve your performance, take a look at your basic hierarchy of needs. Are you fuelling your body with the proper nutrients? Are you giving your body time to recover? Are you sacrificing form and mobility to push bigger weights?
Reflect upon your path so far, then use these natural approaches to improving your performance.