Even if you are not a professional athlete, wouldn’t it still be great to beat your personal best and improve your game? Regardless of your sport or hobby, there comes a point where you hit a plateau. Getting out of this consistent state of performance can be a challenge but there are steps you can take to advance your fitness level and improve your performance.
Hydration – Body Craves Water
Hydration is a serious topic for any athlete and while it’s important to stay hydrated, you also don’t want to be over hydrated. Acute over-hydration can pose a serious health risk and cause low sodium-induced coma. To stay safe and hydrate it has been shown that most athletes should keep their fluid intake in the range of 550-800ml per hour. Now this will also vary depending on the weather conditions that you are working out in. So before you force down extra water, keep in mind to not over hydrate your body. Over-hydrating can cause nausea and bloating, which will hurt your athletic performance.
Proper Fuel for the Fire (working out)
How are you fueling your body? What foods are you eating in preparation of your workout? Your body needs quality food that will be able to provide it with a consistent source of energy. Avoid eating simple sugars, they are inefficient fuels and are even health hazards if consumed regularly.
Here’s a short video on some good food ideas:
Simple sugars can give you energy peaks but they are quickly followed up by energy crashes. They also have severe limitations on absorption. Complex carbohydrates are a different story. These are the types of carbohydrates you should focus on consuming. Complex carbohydrates get absorbed three time the rate of simple sugars and the result will be a smooth, reliable energy. No peaks and crashes.
So while it is important to eat carbs for energy, make sure you are eating complex carbohydrates and avoid simple sugars as much as possible.
Carbohydrates aren’t the only requirement. If you are working out for over two hours then your body will need protein to sustain energy. If you don’t consume protein, your body will start digesting it’s own muscle tissue to fill in the gaps. Roughly 10% of your energy requirements should be satisfied by a source of protein.
Also take the time to replenish electrolytes during and after a workout. Forgetting this can cause cramps, spasms, muscle revolt, and an irregular or rapid heartbeat. Rather than waiting for one of these symptoms to show up, take proactive action. Bananas are fantastic as well as Gatorade.
Supplements can Help Make You Better
Supplements can be a great way to help your body reach its peak performance level. Any new supplements should be tested during training. One supplement that athletes seem to be going crazy over is Niacin, it helps the body turn food into energy more efficiently. Definitely read up on it some, I linked to a pretty easy to understand review that seems informative but don’t just trust that source! It also boosts endurance by increasing oxygen capacity, this is why so many runners and endurance athletes use it as a tool to improve their athletic performance.
Lastly, remember to replenish your body with carbohydrates and protein as soon as possible after each training session. This will help your body with muscle repair and nutrient replenishment. After a workout is when your body is most receptive to replenishment and doing so will help you recover faster. You need to get protein in your system within 30 minutes. Whey protein is great for after workout and fish or chicken for the meal following a hard workout.