For all us regulars at the gym, trying to improve to at least look like we compete can be a daunting task. Between work, school, traffic, families and trying to eat on the run, what can we learn from these folks.
Here are a few tips I have picked up here and there.
Meals and workouts are planned, no guesswork here, not knowing exactly what today’s workout is, or what meals are planned. There is no chance to cheat because there isn’t any food available or prepared, in particular while in pre-contest mode. They are always prepared! You never want to be too tempted, too hungry or any other rationalization for junk food or alcohol. When it comes to dieting, carbs are controlled and very slowly reduced, and the same with cardio. Starting out slowly, and gradually increasing cardio, and reducing carbs. Not going crazy doing all kinds of cardio and drastic diet changes without a gradual plan.
The Diet Doc, Dr. Joe Klemczewski Ph. D, nutritionist to many pro athletes, says; Take your time – don’t diet on too little food. Competitors make slow, intentional changes to loose fat. They don’t try to diet too quickly, and follow a step by step plan that is conservative. You don’t want to loose any of that hard earned muscle.
Next if you are going have cheat meals, factor it in. Plan for it, you are significantly less likely to cheat by accident, if you have something planned!
Competitors can be a little mechanical, and don’t let their emotions rule their diet or workout. So tough’n up! They have solid plans and stick to them. If they do mess up, they get back on the horse right away, and learn from their mistakes. Its not an excuse to take one bad mistake into many. As Arnold use to say, stay focused and disciplined. Some of this mind-set certainly would help the non competing athlete as well.
Pro athletes usually keep a log of their diet and training progressions. By making slow intentional moves, and tracking everything, you know exactly where you stand. I know your probably saying, ” I gotta weigh or measure my food, log my meals, and my training? I don’t have time for that! They do. How else are you going to evaluate and fine tune. Competitors know that nutrition is the key, and you won’t see them on yoyo diets. Like a sculpture, adding clay and slowly refining. They are usually more concerned with how they look, than what it says on a scale. The average person has a problem with that, as we are conditioned to think that way. Regardless of what you weigh, there is a big difference in composition for someone who is very lean and muscular, compared to someone who is skinny fat, or simply fat at the same weight. So only use the scale as a check point for overall progress, and let the mirror be your guideline. If you lose or gain a few pounds, you need to evaluate, was it water, fat or muscle? The scale won’t know, but you likely can see it in the mirror. (come on, flex those abs!)
And lastly…..competitors don’t use the gym as their only social outlet, and spend all their time on idle chat. They sometimes put on that “don’t bother me face” with ear phones on. They focus their attention to the goal in hand. They have a clear vision, and don’t let anything get in their way or distract them from reaching their goals.