4 Resources to Look to in Order to Improve Your Performance
No matter if you are a professional athlete looking to take your game to an All-Star level, or a normal person trying to shave off a few pounds before beach season starts, we all want to improve our performance. Many say the one thing we truly own is our bodies. This is the “temple” we were given, and it is our duty to take as good care of it as we can. It is the vessel that we live our lives out of, making it our one true home as human beings. For these reasons, a little-boosted performance is attractive to all of us.
How do we go about getting this edge on our athletics? It’s easy to want to do these things. Making them happen is another matter entirely. The ones who reach all of their fitness and athletic goals are the ones who can blend a tireless amount of hard work and dedication with an expansive knowledge of the best methods to get there.
As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.” Hard workers do not always have the best performance—not because of a lack of effort, but due to a flaw in their regimen. Luckily, tons of ink has been spilled on the topic of athletic performance, meaning there is a myriad of resources out there for you to find the routine that works best for you.
There is an enormous variety of techniques for boosting one’s performance. There is no excuse for not accomplishing your goals if you approach it with a truckload of effort and a head full of knowledge. Here are a few tried-and-true resources to look to in order to improve your performance.
Learn From The Greats
When it comes to athletic performance, it pays to learn from the countless others who have done it before you. Whether it's in the gym, on the baseball diamond or on the gridiron, an enormous amount of time has been dedicated to finding ways to excel in these arenas. Why re-invent the wheel? Find someone to look up to, then model your routine after him or her.
You would be hard-pressed to find a successful athlete who did not have a poster of a famous pro in his or her room as a kid. Aspiring hockey players had Wayne Gretzky, future baseball stars had Ken Griffey Jr., football-playing kids had Jerry Rice, and so on and so forth. Even arguably the greatest basketball player of this generation, LeBron James grew up idolizing Michael Jordan, leading him to choose number 23 once he broke into the professional ranks. The stars provide a blueprint as to how to train, how to perform and how to carry yourself on and off the field/court/ice/etc.
Follow someone who has a similar natural build as you. Don't worry, you will automatically be drawn to them anyway as you watch their every movement. If you are looking to boost only your fitness performance, unrelated to any individual sport, then find a famous fitness model or personality who has the traits you would like to have. Social media is littered with people whose job it is to perform at a high level and reveal how it is they do it. It is impossible to not find someone to look up to if you look hard enough—so get to searching!
Speaking of social media, technology will be one of your greatest tools on your quest to elite performance. Nowadays, you can learn to do pretty much anything using the internet, making it a perfect place to find new tips and methods that will help you along the way.
Most notably, YouTube is a tremendous resource when it comes to boosting performance. You can essentially build a rocket ship based off of YouTube instructional videos. If you are turning to it in order to find tips, techniques and commentary related to a physical goal, you will find a mountain of information at your fingertips.
Some people are auditory learners, while other people are visual learners. One of the great things about YouTube is that it blends both of these elements into comprehensive videos that anyone can understand. If you are trying to refine your 3-point shot, you will find a video that gives you tips as to how to perfect your release. If you are looking to improve your sprinting form, someone will be there to show you how to shave off a few tenths of a second with some simple tweaks. This can be done simply by following 5- to 10-minute videos, which may even be created by some of the aforementioned idols you chose to follow.
If you respond best to the written word, technology once again has you covered. People who operate YouTube accounts that offer performance tutorials typically have Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts as well. These platforms essentially offer the same type of valuable information, except in writing. So, scroll away through a nearly endless amount of valuable information. You will find everything you were looking for, and then some.
As athletic performance becomes more and more elite, so too does the level and variety of athletic gear available to us. Now more than ever, sports and fitness enthusiasts have a considerable amount of options at their disposal that can both improve their performance and keep them safe in the process.
Do not be afraid to invest in your body. You can be the hardest worker in the world and have more knowledge than anyone else. However, you are invariably going to need a little help along the way. Pulls, tears, strains and sprains happen to everyone, regardless of how much work they put in. This is where having the right gear comes into place, as these modern marvels can be the difference between spending your weekend hiking a trail and spending it on the couch with an ice pack. But what exactly should you invest in?
Compression gear is an excellent way to keep an area of your body warm, loose and firing on all cylinders. It is a simple concept: a sleeve-type piece of equipment constricts a specific body part (i.e., your arm, calf, hips, etc.). What compression gear does is force your body to increase its blood flow to that area. Blood flow is key, as this makes the body warmer, helping the muscles function better. This is one of the main reasons why athletes generally perform at a lower level in cold weather. Their blood flow levels are down, which makes everything tighter and more painful, particularly during impact.
Have you ever noticed that everything usually hurts more in the cold? Less blood flow is a big reason why. If you are a runner, as an example, who wants to get his or her miles in before the sun comes up or late at night, it is best to arm yourself with compression gear that will keep your muscles warm during these colder hours. The warmth helps you not only stay loose but fresh after your workout is done.
One of the main causes of soreness is the movement of the muscles. Specifically, in very repetitive exercises like running or cycling, a big reason why you feel so sore the next day is due to the consistent bouncing, shaking and vibrating you were experiencing during the exercise. The way compression gear helps this is by holding a specific area in place, while also not limiting your range of motion. Now, when you go for a run or a bike ride, your muscles will experience limited vibrations and movement in general, giving you a shorter recovery time and helping you get back out there as soon as possible.
Braces are also a useful tool to help boost your performance, even as you battle nagging injuries. From knee braces to ankle braces, they work by stabilizing and constricting this area, while allowing you to maintain your full range of motion. Braces are excellent for those dealing with minor pulls or strains, for they prevent things from getting any worse while keeping you at your best. If you do not want little injuries to take away from your physical routine, then you may just want to throw on a good brace.
You will not find many, if any, top athletes and fitness freaks today who are not rocking some piece of equipment during their workouts. The simple fact is that they have incredible capabilities that take you to the next echelon of fitness. Even so, you might need a little up-close boost from someone who has climbed the mountain before. Insert the personal trainer here.
While there are a select few people who can draw inspiration from themselves, and only themselves, the vast majority of us require a little boost every now and then. This is one of the many functions of a personal trainer, making it an excellent resource to boost your performance.
A good personal trainer is one who can create a routine for you that is geared towards reaching each and every one of your goals. While they are most known for the support and instructions they give in the gym, many trainers also create diet plans for their clients. Their job is not complete after you have finished a workout session with them. Instead, many of them will monitor your activity and food intake throughout the day, making sure you are sticking to the plan.
While doing research on your own can surely boost your performance in sports and in the gym, the bottom line is that you are probably not trained to create an ideal workout program. You likely have not taken classes and acquired certifications that affirm you know what you're doing when it comes to these things. Personal trainers do, making them a great tool to use in order to get your body to the next level. Do not be afraid to be selective when finding the right trainer for you. Ideally, this is a person whom you will be partnering with for years to come. It is a pairing that will pay dividends for both you and the trainer.
You Get Out What You Put In
Do you want to boost your performance? Do you really want to? If the answer is yes, then there are several tremendous resources to tap into on the path to your physical goals. Any one of these can be the driving force that puts you over the top. As with most things, you get out what you put in. As a result, the only question that remains is: How much work are you willing to put in?