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When it comes to competition, everyone wants to be the best.
That’s what makes sports so fun.
You get to prepare to be your best come competition time and compete against not only yourself, but others as well.
If you want to come out on top, you’ll want to include these 9 tips to boost sports performance in your preparation.
Athletic training is very different than most bodybuilding style workouts featured on websites.
Instead of training specifically for strength and hypertrophy, you need to train to be explosive.
This means quick reps utilizing light or no weight following strength based sets. For instance, you may want to include a set of broad jump immediately after a deadlift. This will allow the lifter to train under maximal load and then immediately call upon fast twitch muscle fibers to build explosive strength.
Hydration is critical when it comes to sports performance. And with multiple workouts during the day for the majority of athletes, you’ll likely sweat a lot of your hydration out.
A common saying in the sports realm is that you hydrate yourself 2-3 days prior to your event. If you begin to cramp during your event, you’re not going to be able to re-hydrate at that point and your performance will suffer.
So, be sure to hydrate before, during, and after your training sessions. And put a focus on hydration in the days leading up to your competition.
There’s a balancing act that must be performed when trying to improve your sports performance, and that’s balancing progression with adequate recovery. Not recovering appropriately from training can lead to over-training and worse sports performance than before.
If you’re training for an event, it’s ideal to begin preparation well enough in advance. The first phase should be getting reconditioned to your workouts, followed by a phase where the focus is on improving your training numbers, before tapering back down to a recovery week prior to your event.
Having a good workout program in place can make all the difference when it’s time to compete.
There are a number of supplements that have been proven to improve sports-performance or recovery.
The most researched supplement would be creatine. Taking creatine has shown time and time again to promote strength.
Caffeine has been shown to increase mental awareness and power output.
Beta-alanine has been shown to promote muscular endurance.
And whey protein can be a helpful recovery aid if you struggle to consume and adequate protein amount during the day.
Of course, when competing, it’s always important to familiarize yourself with the banned substance list for your organization and supplement accordingly.
Carbs are your body’s favorite source of energy. And if you’re an athlete you’re going to be burning through the glucose and glycogen.
So, it’s important to consume the majority of your calories through carbohydrates. The recommended carb intake is generally between 55-65%, but for athletes, I’d recommend aiming for the 65% or greater mark to maximize performance.
Also, make sure these carbohydrates are coming from food sources that aren’t also full of fats as well. Doing so will add unnecessary weight gain and slow down your sports-performance.
Specifically, ensure you have an adequate balance of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Calcium, is obviously important in bone health and density, which lends itself to physical competition very well by helping you avoid bone related injuries.
Magnesium assists in breaking down carbohydrates into glucose, which will provide you with the energy needed during competition.
Potassium plays a critical role in helping your muscles contract and nervous system work appropriately.
And sodium helps control your body’s fluid balance, playing a critical role in keeping the muscles hydrated.
Sleep is arguably the greatest performance enhancing activity one can take part in.
Getting adequate sleep can improve physical and mental performance. It also regulates your hormones and allows your body to recover from strenuous activity.
Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. And focus on the quality of your sleep as well.
Limit blue light exposure an hour before bed. Sleep with the television off and in as dark of and as quiet of a room as possible. And, if possible, keep your room cool (~mid 60s) as this helps promote better sleep.
To promote performance and recovery, it’s critical to take advantages of the preworkout meal and post workout meal windows.
Other meal timings during the day likely won’t matter as much. But you need to make sure you have the energy needed for your training sessions, as well as the necessary nutrients needed to recover post-workout.
For most, this will mean a high carb and moderate protein meal prior to training and a high carb meal post workout. If you’re training lasts longer than 2 hours, then you may want to consider making your post workout meal both high carb and high protein.
The final tip to improving sports performance would be to train functionally for the event you’re planning on competing in.
Be sure to include exercises that closely mimic the range of motions you’ll need to be able to perform explosively on your field of play.
Also, don’t forget to train throughout every plane of motion if necessary for your sport – most programs online strongly focus on the sagittal plane, which will leave you as a liability in your individual sport depending on the skills needed.
And finally, be sure to include sports-specific drills in your workouts, as skill training and fundamentals should be the core training focus to any sports-specific training.
If you’re looking to improve your overall sports performance, try implementing some of these tips into your nutrition and training practices.
If taken seriously, you might just be able to take your game to a whole new level.
So, start dominating these practices today so you can dominate your competition tomorrow.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.