What’s more important to you, strength or muscle? Contrary to popular belief, bigger muscles do not mean more strength. You can be bulkier than Arnold Schwarzenegger and not be able to rep as much as your smaller gym buddy. Building strength gives you better muscle functionality and endurance, while building muscle which induces hypertrophy and increases the size of your muscles.
If you’re dreaming of the ideal athletic form that’s both lean and strong, why not take inspiration from actual athletes? Find out what it takes to have a high-performing muscular body and incorporate the techniques professional athletes use to keep their bodies at peak performance.
Consume an appropriate diet
Building muscles burn more calories, so your diet plays a vital role in maintaining them. You’ll lose mass if you don’t eat in a calorie surplus, which means you’ll need to eat more to gain more. Keep in mind that you still have to maintain a healthy diet. Say goodbye to junk food and anything deep-fried. Instead, add high-protein foods like chicken, beans, and Greek yogurt into your diet. You can even use whey protein shakes, fatty fish, and beet juice to promote muscle recovery.
Your body needs a specific amount of nutrients to sustain itself and create more muscle, and according to CDC, foods that are low in sodium, added sugar, and saturated fats are key to maintaining a healthy weight. Even if you don’t have a personal dietician to provide proper meal plans, you can still eat like an athlete through proper research and keeping the basics in mind.
Alongside great nutrition, you’ll need appropriate supplements to give you a boost to push your boundaries. Pre-workout supplements like caffeine, creatine gummies, and electrolytes make it easier for your muscles to access necessary nutrients. You can use supplements to improve muscle mass and strength and quicken your recovery.
Athletes use supplements like creatine for high-intensity activities that require a lot of power for a short time. Weightlifting, sprinting, and swimming is examples of some high-intensity activity supplements that can help you power through.
Have proper form
You can increase the intensity of your workouts all you want, but you won’t get far unless you have proper form. On the other hand, you’ll get a wider range of motion, experience more burn, and get better results with a proper form.
Athletes have instructors that make sure they’re in proper form to target specific muscles and efficiently utilize their energy. You may have to ask a coach or instructor at your local gym to monitor you and correct any improper forms.
You can only get so far with passion alone. Fitness means constant improvement, even when you don’t feel like it. You need to be disciplined to follow a proper routine and force yourself to adhere to it. According to veteran bodybuilder Abbie Friedberg, it takes years of commitment to see results and more consistency to maintain them.
Just like athletes don’t do sports for the sake of doing them, you can’t passively exercise and hope to get the desired results. You must be willing to change your life and have the discipline to commit to those changes.
Use aerobic conditioning
Anaerobic conditioning is how you should start acclimating your body to high-intensity workouts. You can use heavy cardio exercises like running, cycling, and swimming to improve your endurance. This technique utilizes bursts of high-intensity workouts and increases your body’s capability to store energy.
Athletes use anaerobic conditioning to train their strength and endurance. They also use it to strengthen their bones and maintain muscle mass. You can use anaerobic conditioning to boost your cardiovascular endurance and get your blood pumping with oxygen.
Get adequate rest
Fitness for athletes is not just restricted to the gym; it’s their lifestyle. You can put in hours into the gym, but what’s the point if you’re sleep deprived? You should get at least six hours of sleep every day. Studies suggest you might lose muscle mass and decrease your metabolism function if you’re not getting adequate rest.
Your body releases protein building amino-acids and growth hormones while you’re asleep. These chemicals facilitate muscle growth and development, which is why there is a positive association between muscle strength and good sleeping habits.
Make use of active recovery
Active recovery means indulging in light exercise like walking and yoga. These are non-strenuous physical activities that are done after high-intensity workouts to get your blood flowing and aid in muscle recovery. Active recovery can keep fitness on track by reducing soreness, improving your rebuilding process, and increasing performance.
Athletes look after their bodies with the utmost care, which is why they follow a recovery routine to prevent injuries and muscle strain. You can just sit and do nothing, and according to many studies, active recovery is much more effective than passive recovery.
Different training techniques suit different body types. Your chosen regime solely depends on what results you’re looking for. Just like how athletes use specific training for specific sports, you should choose a training style that best fits you. All you need to do is take care of your body, eat healthily, and ease yourself into higher-intensity workouts.
You can pick and choose what works for you, explore different exercises, switch up your routine, and have fun with fitness.