The Most Fundamental Tips for an Amateur Athlete

Improved performance level, health, and physique will get you in higher places

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Demmy James Tips for an amateur athlete striving to be a runner, cyclist, or even triathlete revolve around the fundamentals of proper nutrition and training, but there is much more to it than this since you are an athlete.

Regular fitness enthusiasts are not working out to compete, so the necessity for advanced health and fitness knowledge is quite low. They want to look better, but you want to perform better and push your body to its max.

The tips provided are capable of increasing any amateur athlete’s performance levels, health, and physique in order to get you in higher places. However, even if you are not an athlete this information is quite beneficial. Tips for you to consider are:

Dieting to match endurance activities

Training that carries over to your increased endurance

Finding time to keep up with training

Eliminating stress

Rest is highly important

Let’s take a look at these tips with better details.

Your Diet Should Match Endurance Sports

As an amateur athlete you have to maintain a pretty strict diet schedule for proper body maintenance. You have to take into consideration the type of training you are required to perform on top of the all the endurance used for the sport you participate in.

For example, if you want to increase your long distance running potential; then you would need to eat leaner foods to keep your weight in check, but then these lean foods need to have the calories to support the energy used for running miles. Without proper nutrients your body will give up after the first few miles.

Training that Carries Over to Increased Endurance

Needless to say, as an amateur athlete you need to be in pretty good shape if you want to do more than watch all the others run and cycle. Resistance training and cardio are vital for an athlete to be able to have the physical capacity to handle the movements during a race.

In order to accomplish this task, you need an 80/20 mixture of the two training types. For cardio workouts, you want interval training because it teaches your body to adjust power output, but then you need to run longer distances for better endurance.

For example, run for 10 minutes, jog for 5 minutes, and then sprint 100 yards. Then the next training day would be running for 15 miles across uneven terrain. Besides the endurance benefits, cardio is great for keeping your heart and lungs strong.

Resistance training is intended for muscular endurance, strength, power, and bone strength as well. This type of training uses an external force to cause contractions from the muscles being targeted.

Resistance could derive from free weights, cable pulley machines, or just bodyweight workouts as well. You want to utilize this type of training, but not nearly as much as the cardio described above. For example, a triathlete requires a lot of body strength and endurance, so squats and deadlifts with a light load are very beneficial.

Stretches and warm-ups are a big deal for athletes, and you should get into a habit of performing them prior to training, and even briefly after training. The two types of stretching used for this are:

Static Stretching

Dynamic Stretching

Static stretching is the most commonly performed because all you are doing is standing in place and holding a stretch. The purpose for this simple type of stretching is to move the joints to their max range of motion, which increases flexibility and relieves stiffness. While your joints undergo this type of movement, your muscles are being stretched out and blood flow begins to increase to them.

Dynamic Stretching is different because you are stretching your muscles and joints through controlled movement, which also increases the blood flow throughout your entire body because your heart is being lightly conditioned.

Examples of dynamic stretching are butt kicks, high knees, duck walks, and single-leg swings. This type of stretching is also important for an amateur athlete because some stretches can be purely focused on a sport.

Let’s use butt kicks and our runner as an example. Butt kicks help a runner activate the muscles and joints that cause contractions within your upper legs, which gets the targeted areas warmed-up for better efficiency.

Making the Time for Training

You have to exercise and diet properly in order to be an athlete. Time maintenance is crucial because you have to eat around the correct times and train at least four days a week, but five is much better.

The average person should be physically active at least three days, so take into consideration that your body should be set to a higher standard. Eliminating too much time spent using your phone, computer, game console, etc. is the first step.

Cardio endurance activities of course take up much more time than weight training, so plan your workout routines appropriately.

Eliminate Stress

Stress is bad for training and detrimental to your health. You need to find ways to eliminate as much stress as possible because it could actually lead to fat gains and muscle loss. Think about what causes your stress, and try to avoid it as much as possible, or find ways to not think about it too much.

The Importance of Rest

If you go out and party too much, getting only four hours of sleep, then your body is not going to get anywhere, and performance levels are surely going to suffer.

Rest is the time your body repairs muscles and disperses the remaining nutrients placing your body into a short fast period, thus increasing fat burning potential as well. You should be getting eight hours of sleep every night if you want to be an athlete.

Take Action

These tips may seem like common sense for cardio endurance based sports, but people often forget about the fundamentals to all training and diet programs since they have a few years under their belt.

Train hard, eat properly, and get plenty of good rest if you truly want to be a better athlete.

So what type of training do you think would be the most effective for an amateur athlete training to be a triathlete? How would your diet compare to a person not training to be an athlete?

Demmy James is a fitness buff as well as strength and conditioning specialist. He is also a content contributor for Muscle & Strength.

More readings: 

The Active Times 50: World’s Best Athletes

Stretches You Should Never Do Before a Workout

The Best Endurance Events to Do in 2016