When it comes to exercise and fitness, whether you’re trying to achieve a deep sense of well-being or create a body that will produce admiration, and a little envy, on Instagram, it can be hard to stay motivated. So let’s take a look at how various pro athletes keep in shape, in order to re-ignite that all-important passion to go and work out…
Gymnastics has to come first as it’s just the most inspiring of sports, certainly in terms of impressive acrobatics and sheer jaw-dropping moments. A quick watch of a training montage by Olympian Simon Biles is better than a Rocky film and enough to keep you fired up in the gym, or just on your treadmill, for at least a week. The training in gymnastics obviously gets very technical at the more advanced levels, but it always revolves around practical, dynamic movements and your own body.
Not unlike yoga, much of gymnastics training is comprised of flexibility work and the development of core strength. As well as toning and improving posture in everyday life, there’s a lot for the mind with this kind of training too. It’s true that there are plenty of basic drills to grind through and that they can be mind-numbing; however, the mental stimulation of regularly facing a little fear, even in just a simple cartwheel, does wonders for your entire being.
Football is in many ways the ultimate sport, with a quarterback such as Kirk Cousins (aka “Captain Kirk” – the guy with the record for the most value contract in football history) representing the ultimate player. It’s a battle that involves power, endurance, technical skill and “heart”. This means that the training has to develop all of these as well and therefore offers a good all-round package that anyone could take guidance from.
Of course, there’s a great deal of specialisation at the pro level too and emulating the training and diet of a stocky defensive tackle won’t be for everyone. In general though, what you get with NFL training is a lot like a cross-fit training package. Olympic style lifts, tyre flips, rope climbs, sprint sessions, middle distance runs and plenty of bounding are a sure way to spice up a workout. So don’t just check out the American football league standings and dream of how you could be in better shape, go out there and emulate your heroes!
Michael Phelps may have retired now but one look at his medal haul is still an amazing source of inspiration if you ever feel like it’s too cold to take a dip (or some other lame excuse that you know better than anyone is completely bogus)! The great thing about swimming, even at beginner level, is that it burns so many calories that you can indulge afterwards; remember all that hype, some time back, about how much Phelps devoured on a daily basis and how he breakfasted on crazy foods like pizza? Well, you probably won’t want to go that far, but the point is that swimming is always a great workout. Again it has that functional, all-round appeal; no single part of your body will avoid getting a workout when you swim. And in terms of both well-being and aesthetic considerations, it’s definitely a winner.
In gym terms, swimming amounts to lifting light resistance for high reps, which creates tone and definition rather than bulk. Training is low-impact and will get you lean. It’s also unfailingly good for the soul. That sounds ridiculously corny, but it’s true. A great way to relieve stress, that refreshing, soothing, full immersion in water paired with the endorphin release of the exercise really lifts your spirits (and any saggy bits you might have!).