They’ve reached the top of their game in their chosen sport or event - must count for something right?
Whilst many of us can only ever dream of competing against the best in the world in a sport, this is real life for the select few athletes who have chosen to pursue this path and work, work, worked.
So what can we learn from these athletes to add into our own training?
1. Consistency is key
Regardless of your level, goal or training experience, being a one hit wonder is no good. You may be capable of doing a high intensity, high volume gym session once a month, but that is no good to anyone if it wipes you out for the rest of the month and leaves you not wanting to do anything.
Being consistent in your training really is the key to progression. Be consistent with the number of sessions per week you want to achieve, and with the content of these sessions.
Many people favour a certain type of training and stick to what they like. I know of many people who train hard in the gym 3x week, do flexibility training once a month then genuinely wonder why they are as stiff as a board.
You get good at what you practice. Simple. Want to become more flexible? Work at it consistently. Want to become stronger? Work at it consistently. Much more effective than going hammer and tong at it once in a blue moon.
2. Value rest time
Elite athletes value their rest time and take it as just that - time to rest.
Many gym goers or weekend warriors I talk to need to constantly feel like they are doing something. They do their gym session, then go running, then take a bike ride, the list goes on.
If you are someone that is feeling tired often or training seems to be hitting a plateau, consider if you are valuing your rest time enough. Are you actually resting in this time? Are you having enough time in your week to switch off both physically and mentally?
Use rest time wisely and never feel guilty about taking it! Remember, exercise is simply a stimulus to recover. Recovery is where we get our key adaptations to all the hard work we put in. It’s important!
3. Enjoy what you do
All the people at the top of their game enjoy what they do. If you are passionate about something, you tend to work harder at it.
In my career coaching many many pro athletes, I can genuinely say I’ve only met 2 who simply saw it as a “job” rather than a passion and just did it because they were good at it. Most athletes love what they do and wake up each day determined to get better at it.
In your own training, make sure you are doing something enjoyable. Not everyone is a gym lover. Some hate that sort of environment. But if that's not your cup of tea, find something that is. Running in the woods. Cycling. Dance classes. Whatever it may be, training should be enjoyable.
Often when something has become unenjoyable its time for a change. A new challenge can be just the thing to regain enjoyment from your training. Equally, setting goals in your existing schedule can help regain that enjoyment. A challenge such as running a 10k or doing a charity bike ride can be enough to spur you on to enjoy your own training again.
So, these are just a few snippets we can take from the elite sport environment into our own training. Can’t guarantee it’ll make you a pro athlete, but still!