Young man doing a warm-up routine which includes dynamic stretching and static stretches.

If you're like us, you usually stay glued to the TV for sports coverage (all sports - any sports) and closely follow the unbelievable physical and emotional peak performances athletes display.​

But how do you push your limits the way professional athletes do without risk of injury, adhering to strict diets, following intense workouts and hiring lots of people to help you achieve your goals?

How to Train Like an Athlete

Well, believe it or not, it's not that hard! There are a few tricks you can apply straight away to enhance not only your physical performance but also your mental strength in your daily life.

Don't believe us? Read on!

Holding the Olympic torch.

1. Choose the Exercise that Best Fits

When we think of Olympic athletes, we think of a lifetime of dedication and sacrifices to reach excellence. They engage in high-intensity training programmes designed to work for different muscle groups and improve their overall strength. We see them as elite fitness specialists whose entire existence is dedicated to the sport they practise.

That may very well be true, only none of that sacrifice and dedication would mean much if one little detail was missing; the fact that they excel in sports that fits them.

What that means is that we all have our strong points: some of us are fast, some of us are tall, and others can stay underwater for a long time. Most professional athletes simply chose a sport in which their best ability was most useful and then kept at it until they excelled in it.

Sounds too obvious to qualify as a "trick", right? Well, there are many people out there practising sports that don't work for them, sometimes even injuring themselves because they keep at it despite the pain or discomfort!

There are many different sports and games out there, all of them easily available to anyone who's curious to try them. Some of us are better soccer players. Some of us are better swimmers. The key is to try as many as possible and find the one that will put your best abilities to good use.

2. Set Goals and Believe You Can Achieve Them

Again, this may seem obvious but the ultimate goal of all professional athletes is to win. Whether they compete for glory, for money, for the love of the sport, or for all three, competitions are organised to be won.

In the case of Olympic athletes, the goal is to compete against the best athletes from all over the planet to win in their specific fields - and that doesn't just mean coming first.

Obviously not every Olympian has realistic aspirations of winning a gold medal, but they are all going to the Olympics with their own personal goals. Setting realistic targets and working hard to achieve them is just as rewarding as finishing in a certain position or setting a personal record!

Apply this state of mind to challenge yourself by setting short-term and long-term goals, however big or small, to motivate yourself. Sure, things may get tiresome or difficult from time to time, but your goal will allow you to focus on what you want to achieve!

Just remind yourself that sport and exercise are good for your body, mind, and spirit and that you CAN do it. Remember, courage and determination will allow you to stick with the most difficult of tasks!

3. Heat Up with Warm-Up Routines

Warm-up exercises for athletes are essential! Physical and mental preparation can make or break a performance!

It doesn't matter which sport you practise or what your proficiency level is, warming up with dynamic stretching exercises or static stretches improves your flexibility and range of motion. Warm-ups allow your body to get more confident in the movements it will need to do, and it will prevent the likelihood of you getting injured.

This also applies to non-sports related activities such as public presentations, tests, or any other sort of performance that demands a delicate balance of skill, concentration, and practice.

Don't forget, it takes time and effort to improve at something and start seeing benefits. The more committed you are towards your goal, the quicker you will see those improvements and benefits.

So get to it!

4. The More the Buddies, the Merrier the Exercise

Professional athletes have entire teams of people whose only job is to assist them in their performance. Coaches, trainers, personal assistants, drivers, masseuses, chiropractors, mental health professionals familiar with sports psychology, spokesmen, to name a few, are all typically part of an athlete's entourage.

In the case of an Olympic delegation, you have the above-mentioned people plus all the other athletes, plus their families and friends, plus the government representatives, plus the fellow countrymen supporting from abroad, plus all the people that have financial interests (sponsors, agents, etc.).

This means that even if the athletes perform in an individual discipline—say javelin throwing or high jumping—they are never truly on their own.

In your case, getting the concentration or the motivation to perform can be quite difficult if you're on your own.

Exercising with friends is always a good idea, as you can motivate, challenge, and push each other. Next time. you head to the gym to do squats and deadlifts, ask a friend to come along to check your form. Even if they don't play the same sport as you, they can always give you some pointers on techniques or equipment!

5. Build Mental Resilience. It's all in your head!

Last but not least, mental and emotional resilience is an important part of an athlete's training.

Learning from mistakes, growing from defeats, and adapting strategies to changing situations are some of the mental skills Olympic athletes develop to shield themselves from the intense pressure and stress they face.

Remembering why you are training will help your mind stay in control of your body. If you can get through a few tough times, it will get easier as you progress.

Why would you cheat yourself if you went through all that pain yesterday? Mental toughness, especially at the start, will put you on the right path to success.

And don't forget: above all else, pushing yourself has to be FUN! If it stops being enjoyable, then don't torture yourself and move on to something that makes you truly happy!

As you can see, there's much we can learn from Olympic athletes and use in our own lives, whether for sports performances or for a happy and balanced lifestyle!

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