As athletes we all would like to think we bring the “Mamba Mentality” into our workouts and overall preparation for our sports. Unfortunately, sometimes no matter how much we exert ourselves in the gym, our performance can be hindered by factors we might not be paying attention to. Here for our first blog post I wanted to list five key mistakes you may be making, that can stop you from maximizing your potential peak performance.
Typically, after a training session, a trainer will advise you to, “hurry up and get some protein.” The logic is that you have a small window to put protein in your body where it can effectively promote muscle growth. This is not only untrue but shifts the focus away from what is, actually essential for post workout nutrition, Carbs.
Carbohydrate is the most time-sensitive macro-nutrient. Depending on your sport it might also be the fuel to your activity. As far as post workout it is crucial that performance athletes to replenish their carbs after a workout. If you fail to do so the body begins to metabolize its muscle to create energy, which will ultimately decrease performance. I will make a detailed post regarding carbs in the future.
Toxins in Your Blood
Think of your circulatory system the same as the fuel delivery system in your car. If it becomes dirty it will slow the car’s performance, in extreme cases if your fuel injection is clogged your car will not even start.
The circulatory system delivers the nutrients or fuel, to your body. Even if you are putting good things in your body, if you are also consuming a lot of toxins, your body will never be able to take in the nutrients. Nicotine, alcohol, trans fat can all clog the circulatory system.
Training in the Wrong Intensity Zone
The phrase “in shape” is very subjective. For athletes, being conditioned to your specific sport when the season starts is a must. An uneducated strength coach/athlete will often fail to a develop a plan that addresses the specific needs of their sport. If you are a fast twitch athlete like a football player, 3-mile runs may be good offseason cross-training but at some point, it becomes detrimental to building fast twitch muscle. If you are a marathon runner, short burst exercises will not allow you to build up the cardio endurance you need.
These examples are extreme, but often athletes perform workouts that they think will help them but miss the mark. On Instagram we see football players performing 3-minute drills, or endurance athletes doing maximum lifts. Optimizing proper training intensity allows you to improve the energy system and muscle type you need for your sport.
You’re Blowing Off the Recovery Process
Here is a harsh reality that many athletes fail to acknowledge: It does not matter how hard you work out, if you do not handle the recovery process it all goes to waste. Sleep, rest, nutrition, hydration and supplementation, all play a role in getting the body back to 100% and ready to compete. When we train, we breakdown our muscles, in order to build them back up, we need to eat right, we need to drink water, and we need to get the proper rest, at minimum. Recovery essentials will be a huge part of this blog moving forward.
Your Workouts are Not Functional to Your Sport
I am a believer in cross-training and am pretty much against specializing in one sport at an early age. However, some exercises and drills can be detrimental to your performance, or just a waste of time. I remember a strength coach of mine always yelling, “Curl on your own time” I echo this to my athletes as well. A training session is typically 45-60 minutes, there is not any time for exercises that have no functional value. Some lifts might hinder the mobility you need for your sport. For example, if you are a boxer who needs to be able to keep your guard up, too much bench pressing might make it more difficult to do so.
There are many elements to achieving peak performance. Most of us understand the importance of hard work, but we are often miseducated or misinformed about the other factors that either hinder or enhance your abilities. We will later expand on all these topics individually, and moving forward this blog will be dedicated to educating trainers and athletes and maximizing our potential.
Coach Fred Daniels