7 Tips from Professional Athletes on Achieving Peak Performance

Professional athletes are some of the most disciplined people in the world. Their drive and achievements continue to inspire aspiring athletes to do their best in their own journey. We can turn to them for inspiration, and Inspyr has a great collection of some of their encouraging words. But inspirational quotes can only take you so far. More often than not, practical advice matters more in helping one achieve peak performance. Luckily for you we’ve rounded up a few tips from some of the world’s greatest athletes.

1. Fitness

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to training. Ultimately, it all depends on what sport you play and your current skill level. However, Roger Federer says that consistency is key especially when you plan on being around for a long time. As a tennis pro, the Swiss Ace trains these specific skills: Strength, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, speed, and reaction time. These are all essential to the sport he plays so if you want to become a tennis player, you will need exercises that target these aspects. Don’t forget to vary your workouts, warm up properly, and work on flexibility, which is often overlooked in sports. 

2. Nutrition

Similar to training, diets also differ among athletes. The general rule is to source your nutrients from healthy ingredients. Olympic middle-distance runner Alyssia Montaño’s diet on race day looks like this: Oatmeal with fruit, yogurt, nuts and seeds for breakfast, chicken breast wrap with veggies and cheese for lunch, fruits and yogurt for snacks and some type of protein for dinner. There’s an emphasis on protein and carbohydrates, which runners like her need a lot of. Notice how there’s no junk or processed food in her meals, which is essential for bringing down body fat and maintaining muscle mass. The absence of processed foods also significantly increases your energy levels, vital to reaching peak performance.

3. Sleep and recovery

As an article on the Huffington Post revealed, athletes like to sleep a lot. Many of them go over the recommended 8 hours, like NFL player Larry Fitzgerald who reportedly sleeps for 10 to 11 hours. It’s not just exhaustion from training but also because sleep is an important ingredient for recovery. This is the time when the muscles go into repair-mode which makes them stronger and less prone to injury. 

4. Overcoming injury

As much as athletes work hard to avoid them, injuries are an occupational hazard. However, making a complete recovery is possible. Take it from Lindsey Vonn who is one of the most successful alpine skiers in the country and has suffered her share of broken bones. Vonn relayed to InStyle that her road to recovery involves celebrating small victories, even if it’s just being able to move her fingers. She adds, “It’s too frustrating to think long-term.” When coming back from an injury, it’s important to practice patience during rehabilitation and take it step by step. 

5. Meditation

Former professional beach volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh have one secret to winning: Meditation. While they were active, the pair relied on yoga and meditation in order to enhance their performance. One thing that it helped them with is visualization, a tool used by Soviet Union Olympians in the 70s. Essentially, it’s a mental rehearsal that focuses on physical performance which worked well in May-Treanor and Walsh’s favor on the court. Unorthodox as it may sound, it can help reduce anxiety and calm your nerves on the day of competition. 

6. Mindset

Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best soccer players of all time. For the Juventus player, his confidence comes from his desire to prove that he is the best. In order to achieve that level of self-esteem, you need to be open to the possibility of improving your athletic ability and deal with pressure. If your fear of failing trumps your desire for success, that’s when your self-esteem plummets. When you get criticized, use this as fuel to improve your game instead of seeing it as a critique of your shortcomings. Confidence is all about perspective. 

7. Experience

When it comes to playing sports, LeBron James says that advice isn’t helpful. “I don’t want advice, and the reason I don’t want advice is because every experience is a teacher,” he explained in an interview. These words certainly ring true for all aspiring athletes. What works for an individual may not be the most successful path for another and the only way to figure it out is through trial and error. A Ladbrokes feature claims LeBron James is the most recognizable basketball player in the world, and this is shown through his on and off court success. He is also in his 16th year in the NBA and has a lot of experience, which means that if there’s any advice you should take to heart, it’s his. 

At the end of the day, tips from professional athletes should be taken with a grain of salt. Instead of replicating a pro’s methods, take them as a springboard to create your own personal habits to achieve peak performance.

Sports Editorial authored by Jean Biggs for the exclusive use of inspyrsocks.com

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