1. Diversify your routine.
Doing the exact same routine day in and day out will result in the dreaded plateau. Strive for a mix of aerobic and muscle-building exercises and devote individual workouts to specific parts of your body.
2. Yoga can give you a competitive edge.
Yoga strengthens your core and helps with mental focus (two things that are critically important for competitive athletes).
3. Don’t waste your time and energy working on vanity muscles.
Use your time in the gym efficiently and prioritize exercises that strengthen your core. Popeye-sized biceps won’t help your performance in most sports.
4. Music will push you to train harder.
A recent study shows that music helps people exercise longer and maintain a faster pace.
5. Don’t train with your best friend.
Training with a close friend often devolves into chitchat that distracts your from your goals. You also run the risk of ignoring your body’s own cues in order to go at their pace.
6. Add a high intensity hill workout into the mix.
If you’re preparing for an endurance competition, this type of interval training is an effective and relatively fast way to boost lung capacity and muscular power.
7. Visualization techniques in the weeks before competition will reduce performance anxiety.
Take time to visualize success. Taking deep breaths and running through competition scenarios in your mind will help you cope with whatever happens on the day of the event.
8. Breathing correctly while you train will improve your performance and increase endurance.
Whether you’re engaged in weight training or cardio, your body will perform better if it’s receiving a stable supply of oxygenated blood. Train yourself to take even breaths that cause your belly to extend on the inhale. Be mindful of times that you’re holding your breath for no reason (such as the last couple reps of weights or during a sprint).
9. Get off the elliptical machine.
This is often the most popular piece of equipment in the gym because it’s easy, but the elliptical doesn’t operate on muscle force, which means you aren’t getting much of a workout for the amount of time you spend on it.
10. Work swimming into your routine.
Swimming works out your entire body without placing any impact on your skeletal system. Some studies have shown that because of the reduced wear and tear on the body, swimmers have a lower mortality rate than runners and speed walkers.