train like an athlete

Why You Should Train Like an Athlete No Matter Your Age

If you’re an athlete in this day and age, training is an integral part of your life. Not only are you asked to perfect your sport-specific skills through practice (BTW, practice makes permanent, not perfect…article to come soon), you also have to develop the abilities within those skills to become the best basketball player, football player, golfer, sprinter or dancer that you can be.

50 years ago, you could count the number of athletes on your hand that did resistance training or speed training or jump training or agility training on a regular basis. And we’re talking professional athletes. Baseball coaches, for instance, believed that lifting weights got their players too bulky and “muscle-bound”. That ideology carried over into many other sports realms. But now coaches and athletes alike understand that if they’re not lifting heavy, running extra sprints, jumping more or climbing around then they will be well behind the proverbial 8 ball.

So why is it so important for athletes to do extra training to become better at their sport, but not important for a 50-year old banker to do the same?! Well, he’s not training for a sport, right?!

The Importance of Training for Life

We all begin life the same way and end life the same (although, in different capacities). Somewhere along the life continuum, we decide which path we are going to take so that we can live the lifestyle we want. Some become realtors or gardeners or bankers, and others become race car drivers or lawyers or pro athletes. Some have families and children and grandchildren and some don’t. In all of this, we are all striving to survive and live. And, although professional athletes are training to become better at their sport (which is their chosen occupation), they aren’t the only ones who have something to train for.

Life is the ultimate sport, is it not? How often do you have to pick things up, cut the grass or paint the walls? These are all instances in which we have to be prepared and be able to perform. And quality performance comes from quality training.

Running, jumping, skipping, lifting and climbing are not just things that are relegated to the professionals. These are things we should all be able to do, whether you’re 13, 30, or 80. No matter what path you choose, we are all striving to be the best at our sport. Depending on how well you train will determine how well you perform and also how long you will last in your sport. So it’s important to train like an athlete to keep your performance at its peak.

Participating in the Sport of Life

So, it’s important to understand that, even though we are not participating in an organized sport (and therefore our performance must be improved to be better), we are participating in the sport of life.

This little tidbit often gets overlooked. Our society forces us to believe certain aspects of life are more important than they really are. For instance, you are judged on your stature in your community. Where you lie on the stature continuum will depend on a couple of things, namely, how much money you make, how big your house is, what kind of car you drive and what occupation you hold. This is just a shortlist of the things we are judged on, but these are the ones that come up most often. Since we enjoy higher stature and prestige, we opt to improve these things that we are judged on (money, house, career, etc.), and ignore the things we society doesn’t deem important.

Ironically, the most important aspect of our lives that we should pay attention to fits into this category of things that aren’t important: our health. This is where training like an athlete comes in. Our health is the determining factor as to whether we can build a quality career, make more money, buy a big house, have nice things and so on. So, therefore, we have to train in order to stay healthy and perform well in this game called life.

How to Train Like an Athlete in Less Time

Now, let’s take a look at how we can implement this idea of training like an athlete. Although athletes train for multiple hours at a time, whether it’s sport-specific training, weight training, conditioning or speed and agility training, for us “general population” folks, we just need to focus on the important factors and make it efficient.

The fact is, we do have families and houses to maintain and sports games to go to with the kids, so we don’t have abundant time to workout. Making your training time as efficient as possible is the key, and that can be done in a few simple steps:

#1) Do Full-Body Workouts

Split routines have been the rage in fitness for years now. A split routine is when you do legs one day, then chest one day, then arms one day and so on. Many people believe that, if you’re going to weight train, you have to do a split routine. The issue with this style of training is time. If you’re trying to hit only one body part a day, it could take you all week to train your whole body. For most of us, this is just unrealistic. Make sure to hit your basic human movements everyday:

This will ensure that you’re training the movements that matter most in life and that you are getting a quality workout I the meantime.

#2) Use Supersets

There is a little bit of an art to supersetting, but I think we can break it down easily. First, a superset is when you perform a group of exercises in succession without taking a break and calling that one set. To be sure we’re able to maximize each movement, do not superset an upper body with an upper body. Here is an example of how a superset could be laid out:

            PUSH – Bench Press      x8

            HINGE – Deadlift           x8

            CARRY – Suitcase Carry  x8

Do those exercises back to back to back and repeat 3 times. Notice you’re never performing an upper body exercise after another upper body exercise

#3) Do MRT for Cardio

MRT stands for Metabolic Resistance Training. This is a type of training where you combine Resistance Training with Interval Training. This is one of the most efficient and effective ways to get a quality cardio session without wasting an hour on a treadmill or elliptical. Here’s how MRT works: pick a handful of exercises, assign a time frame to perform each exercise, decide how many times you want to go through each rotation and you’re good to go. Check out an example:

Pushups                x20secs

Kettlebell Swing  x20secs

Plank                     x30secs

Kettlebell Row    x15secs each side

That whole set is going to take you one minute and 40 seconds to complete. If you perform that 3 times with a minute rest in between sets, you’ve totaled 7 minutes from beginning to end. Much better than a 60-minute treadmill session, right?!

Keep your workouts within the timeframe you want. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to train every day for 2 hours at a time in order to achieve your goals and be a high performer in life. We want to last as long as we can in this game called life, after all.

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