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Disciplined Fitness Regimen Coupled With Balanced Dietary Programme Is The Key To Athletes’ Success
Athletes are considered the benchmark of optimal levels of personal fitness. What makes their fitness so envied and desired by non-athletes like me and you? It is their strict daily routine that distinguishes them from the rest: from waking up early in the morning to going to bed at night and leaving the comfortable beds again the next morning remain part of the daily routine of athletes. However, maintaining a disciplined routine is not everyone’s cup of tea. That requires a high degree of commitment or passion to get the ultimate fitness levels through daily workouts. This drive comes from the dispensation to achieve the goals that athletes set for themselves. And what is the most cherished and admired goal of the athletes? Regardless of the nation or the sports athletes who represent them always aim to achieve the ultimate glory at the Olympic Games and respective world championships. The greatest achievers of all time are the strictest followers of a disciplined workout regimen. Mark Spitz, Usain Bolt, Nadia Comaneci, Mohammad Ali, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, and other famous athletes become what they are known for through a well-organized daily routine. This article takes you on a journey of fitness and health imperatives for the athletes by looking into the regimens of some famous athletes, this article discusses the importance of daily routine that athletes follow to keep themselves fit for their sporting to make dreams come true.
What can be an ideal daily routine for the athletes? To find the answer to this question we have to delve deeper into the subject and do an insightful research. In the quest to find the answer, however, there is the risk of making sweeping generalizations. That is why researchers often make the mistake of not distinguishing the different sports goals and they often associate success, most prominently, with the degree of fitness level. However, they are partly right, but remain ignorant of the fact that competing in various sports requires specialized training to acquire the right skills and specific body strength. Natalie Rizzo, a blogger at nutricisedr.com on health, nutrition and fitness topics, writes in a January blog post referring to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, “What we don’t always think about is that athletes of the various sports in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have different goals that lead to very different training and eating regimens.” She further adds, “Some sports call for speed, while other sports focus on strength and distance. Some athletes benefit from being lean, while others find it beneficial to bulk up and increase their strength.”
Clearly, Rizzo’s analysis shows that there is no universal fitness regimen for all athletes. The nature of fitness regimes is determined by the goals that athletes strive for in national and international sports events. A sprinter like Usain Bolt would follow a significantly different daily routine from a shot-stopping athlete like Ulf Timmerman or David Storl. The skills these players possess or aspire to acquire shape their daily practice regimen. Usain Bolt, the fastest sprinter in the world, would focus on training programs that lead to improved stamina, muscle strength especially in the lower limbs, controlled breathing, jumps, etc. On the other hand, Shot Put players would aim to increase their shoulder and forearm strength, momentum building prior to the throw, physical balance within the throw circle and such similar skills.
Daily exercises and workouts
Despite the specialized training for different disciplines of sports, you can find commonalities in the daily regimen for athletes of all genres. Some common workouts and exercises followed by athletes may include:
- Basic fitness training
- Strength training
- Ride a bike
- Running & Walking
- Push ups
- Stretching exercises
- Exercises for building stamina
- Breathing exercises.
Examples of different sports fields
There are a number of global trainers and fitness experts who have suggested daily fitness regimes to be followed by athletes representing various sports. Among them is a professional coach George Payan who is a trainer for sprinters. Payan maintains an online coaching resource, http://www.coacheseducation.com, in which he has worked out daily workouts by various types of athletes. To give an example, he has outlined a comprehensive daily routine for the 400 meter sprinters. Beginning Monday, Payan detailed the workouts for each day of the week with periodic rest days.
Michael Phelps, the famous swimmer and record holder for the most Olympic Gold, surpassing the former record holder Mark Spitz in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, follows a strict daily routine. Although there are some special attributes unique to Phelps that separate him from the average male adult, he still works hard six days a week. Jonathan P. Wade writes about his natural characteristics in Motley Health:
“Phelps is 6 feet 4 in tall and weighs about 185 pounds (84 kg). He is 14 feet tall and has a 6ft 7in arm span, which is 3in longer than his height. He has relatively short legs for his height, which gives him an added advantage in the pool. Also, his knees are double-jointed and his feet can turn 15 degrees more than average, so they are fully straightened so that his powerful feet act as flippers. These genetic advantages help him kick off the wall and propel himself dolphin like 10m before actually having to swim.”
Despite these attributes, Phelps’ daily routine includes swimming six hours or 8 miles per day. He usually hits the pool every morning at 6.30am and swims six days a week including holidays. In addition to his swimming regimen, he also follows a weight lifting regimen, spending about an hour 3 days a week along with one hour three days a week stretching his muscles. Phelps has earned the name “the human dolphin” for his superior swimming skills.
Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories every day. His breakfast includes:
- Three fried egg sandwiches topped with cheese
- Fried onions
Usain Bolt, another typical athlete and the role model for aspiring young athlete in the profession, is also a hard trainer like Phelps. Although Bolt is also a naturally gifted athlete, he follows a strict regimen to maintain his agility and lightning speed. Bolt is the current world record holder of 100m and 200m sprint categories at Olympics.
Bolts typical daily routine includes:
- Weighted Lunges with heavy dumbbells
- Weighted Squats
- Cable Leg Drives
- Explosive step-ups with weighted barbell
- Bunny Hops / Box Jumps
- Frog Leaps
- Ankle Rolls
- High knee Skips
In addition to the workouts mentioned above, Usain Bolt’s daily regimen also includes flexibility and sprinting exercises. Bolt trains intensively for 3 hours a day followed by rest, massage and relaxation to ensure full recovery before hitting the next session.
A typical Usain Bolt diet includes high energy meals containing 60% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 10% fats. He consumes about 196 grams of muscle-building protein every day.
The above brief discussion threw some light on the daily routines of athletes including the diet plans. But there is more to just maintaining a perfect body for participation in national and international competitions. In addition to physical agility and strength, sound mental health is also an imperative requirement for maintaining a long career in athletics. According to Marv Zauderer, who is a licensed psychotherapist in San Francisco, USA, who works with amateur and professional athletes from all sports, highlights the importance of mental fitness for peak performance. According to Marv, lack of mental fitness creates psychological barriers for athletes in achieving their optimal performance.
“Self-doubt, nerves, uncertainty, frustration, distractions, hesitation, fear, intimidation – these are all obstacles to accessing your full physical potential. The body you work so hard to train can be derailed in an instant by a limitation in mental fitness. But what does “mental fitness” really mean? The effortless integration of body and mind, working in harmony to produce a sense of flow, of being in the elusive zone? Well, yes, that is a glorious experience as (if!) it happens, and working on your mental skills makes it much more likely that it will.”
Another expert, Jesse Kropelnicki (to know more about Jesse Kropelnicki, check out his blog http://www.kropelnicki.com) who provides professional coaching to triathletes like Marv, keeps mental fitness on a high pedestal.
“Just as optimal physical fitness is highly personalized, so is mental fitness.”
As the opinions of experts claim that mental fitness is as important as the physical fitness, the athletes should also include some mental training regimen in their daily routine to overcome psychological limitations while competing at the highest level. They can do yoga, acrobatic exercises, dance or meditation for maintaining sound mental health.
Like professionals in any other field, athletes are also required to follow a disciplined daily routine to achieve their ambitions in their respective sports. A famous quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes thus says: Success is not the position where you stand, but the direction you are going.” Apparently from the quote by Wendell Holmes, the stagnation factor that people often fall victim to after realizing of a fair bit of success; you must continue to add milestone after milestone. It has often been observed that once people achieve something, they tend to become complacent, which in turn hinders the secret of their success, which is a disciplined daily routine.
Therefore, it is imperative for the athletes to follow a strict daily routine. Undoubtedly, they will have to deal with distractions, but they need to build a strong mental set-up to stay on a strong footing. Another factor that sometimes imposes a psychological obstacle for the will of the athletes to observe a strict routine is the lack of motivation. Sometimes they would feel low and lose the determination to work at their optimum best. In such a scenario, they could boost their morale by reading biographies of successful sportsmen or watching films of guts and glory. During these hours of crisis, their mental trainers have a crucial role to play in rejuvenating their inner desires to compete and succeed.
The coaches can motivate them through anecdotes or their personal life experiences. A lively and humorous environment can also prove to be very useful in solving the problems. There can be a number of causes for athletes’ lack of motivation: family problems, fights with girlfriend/boyfriend, or any other stress-related problems. These can be addressed through timely intervention by psychological experts. If they face such problems, it would be better for the athletes to sort them out before they snowball into bigger problems. Once the athletes regain the lost rest, they should start the workouts and training programs, gradually reaching the peak regime as part of their normal daily routine. Therefore, an ideal daily routine also has mental strength building apart from the physical trainings and a good diet plan.
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