What does it take to be a Strong Athlete? It all starts with the mind. Being a Strong Athlete is about making a mental committment to becoming the best version of you. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to stress about doing everything right. You just have to strive to be a little bit better than you were yesterday.
Below are 21 strategies you can use today to become an even better version of you:
- Drink more water, in the morning, between meals, before, during and after training.
- Eat your veggies, especially your greens. Besides being healthy for you, eating an abundance of greens will help you to become leaner, faster.
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods, most of the time.
- Increase and upgrade your protein. If you’re not doing this already, increase your protein intake to about a gram per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 150 lbs. strive to consistently eat 150 grams of protein per day. And upgrade your protein by choosing quality sources – wild caught fish, pasture raised meats, and clean brands of whey protein.
- Get your Omega 3’s daily. You can get these from a variety of sources, including fatty fish (i.e. salmon), chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. They are good for your brain, heart, joints and so much more. Get some!
- Squat. With a barbell on your back, on your shoulders, with a kettlebell, with a dumbbell, with one leg or two. Just make sure you squat.
- Master your own bodyweight. Push Ups, Pull Ups, Dips, Chin-Ups etc. are all exercises you should be doing on a regular basis.
- Deadlift, bro.
- Stretch regularly. To be a strong athlete, you need to move well and mobility is key. For those of you who sit all day at work/school, start with this stretch.
- Take care of your shoulders. While it’s important (and fun) to press heavy weights to build muscle and strength, always schedule time for maintenance work for your shoulders. This means doing the boring, unsexy stuff like external rotations, band pulls, Y Raises, and T Raises. These exercises are not exciting, but they will extend your training career and keep your shoulders healthy.
- It is said that you are the average of the five people you hang out most with. Choose those people wisely.
- Take five minutes a day to be grateful for everything you are blessed with. Use this to stay on track.
- Meditate to manage stress, think more clearly and be a better version of you. This 5000+ year old practice is rooted in ancient wisdom and is now validated by science.
- Try a cold shower 1st thing in the morning to prime your nervous system and feel amazing. This is as powerful as a cup of coffee, which is saying something, because I love coffee.
- Always be a student. This can be formal (i.e. diplomas, certifications, courses) or informal (i.e. reading, podcasts, TED talks). Being an eternal student is essential for your personal growth. You can never have enough knowledge or wisdom.
- Make sleep a priority. As I’ve said in previous newsletters, this is non-negotiable. Sleep is essential for recovery so you can consistently be the best version of you.
- Start consistently keeping a training journal and watch your results improve. To know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been. What gets measured gets done. You can use an actual journal or an app for this.
- Get outside more. Nature has a way of resetting the system (mind and body) that nothing else compares to. We were not meant to be cooped up in buildings 24/7. Supercharge your health and well-being by getting reconnected with nature.
- Laugh as much as possible. It really is the best medicine. Life is not meant to be taken too seriously.
- Work on your weaknesses. It may sound cliché but some many of us overlook this lesson. Improving your weaknesses is a guaranteed way to improve as an athlete and as a person. For example, if your mobility sucks, invest time at every workout trying to get better at it.
- Be gritty. Life is going to throw you a sucker punch or a spin kick every now and then. You will experience the highest of highs, lowest of lows and everything in between. Your ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures will define you as a person. And while you can’t get grit from a book, this great read by Angela Duckworth really helps to convey why grit is so important for success.
Team Strong Athlete