Not many people would complain about having the strength and physique of a professional athlete. Typical pro athletes dedicate about 30-40 hours each week to training, and have learned how to maximize their exercise time for optimal results.
While most non-athletes don’t have 30 or more hours of free time each week to dedicate to working out, there are ways to optimize your gym time to give you the most return on your investment.
Here are five tips for exercising like a professional athlete.
- Practice compound movements. Compound workout movements, such as squats and overhead presses, use multiple muscles at once, which means you will be getting more from your workout. Compound exercises are especially effective if you only have a short amount of time to dedicate to working out each week.
- Build your mental strength. Physical resilience is sometimes a matter of mental strength. Often our bodies are capable of much more than we think, yet self-limiting thoughts and fears get in the way of really pushing ourselves and seeing what we can accomplish. By developing your self-esteem, confidence, and courage, you will be able to exercise harder and longer.
- Get plenty of sleep. Your body needs adequate amounts of sleep and rest to rebuild muscle and recover from a heavy workout. You should shoot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night in order to recover completely.
- Fuel your body. Eating nutritious meals with enough protein to build muscle and enough carbohydrates for quick energy is essential for maximizing your workout. Drinking water is also crucial for muscle and fascia health and recovery.
- Don’t ignore recovery. It is counter-productive to push your body too hard and forget about the importance of recovery. Prioritize active recovery—such as a walk or light movements—the day after a tough workout to prevent muscles from getting too stiff or sore. Deep tissue release from massage, foam rollers or a lacrosse ball will also help deactivate and prevent knots.