5 Training Tips That Will Make You A Better Athlete

Expert advice that will improve yourself from head to toe and will help you kick competition to the curb!

PUBLISHED: |

BY ANIS TAUFIK



5 Training Tips That Will Make You A Better Athlete
UNDER ARMOUR

The heat was definitely on at the recent grand finale of the Test of Will 2017, an urban fitness challenge organised by Under Armour. For just one day, the event saw 12 athletes from six Southeast Asian countries battle through a series of high-intensity exercises in a display of pure athleticism. In the wake of the blood, sweat and tears of the finale, we spoke to Daniel de Sanctis, head trainer of the TripleFit Coaching Team and designer of this year’s Test of Will challenge courses, for some pointers on how you can bring your A-game to any competition.
 

1. Do Your Ground Work
Expect the unexpected. “For challenges like the Test of Will, where you don’t know what the competition is going to be about until closer to the big day, you just have to try and be good at all aspects of fitness,” de Sanctis says. “You want to be able to come in and think, ‘I can do whatever they throw at me’. You want to be versatile when it comes to fitness.”
 

He points out that in addition to clocking in your training hours, you’ve got to prepare by eating and sleeping well, and getting at least one day of complete rest the day before. According to de Sanctis, gruelling exercises are one of the best ways to truly test your inner athleticism. “It’s the best way to see how your mind works when things get tough,” he says. “You’ll find out a lot about how you handle tough exercises.”
 

2. Sign Up, Show Up And Game On
Remember the old adage “practise makes perfect”? This rule doesn’t just apply to strength and training; it can also give you a mental advantage. “You can build confidence by signing up for competitions. The more you compete, the more you get used to the competition environment,” de Sanctis explains. “In a competition, things can get pretty heated – lots of things are going on and off. You have to get ready, get pumped up, and be able to come down from that.
 

“It’s a lot of mental stuff, which can be harder than the actual physical stuff,” he continues. “For example, even if you do a bad event, you need to be able to brush it off, and go hard on the next one. Try not to think so much about what you’ve done, or the last event. You need to be mentally strong, and know that you can do a lot of stuff.”
 

3. Grow Through What You Go Through
Sometimes, your best teacher is just plain ol’ experience. “It doesn’t really matter what kind of competition, or sports you play,” de Sanctis says while expanding on how competing regularly can help you prepare for big events. “Even if it’s football, hockey, gymnastics or cycling – it’s always the mentality behind it that’s important because [your experience] adds over time, and helps you build confidence.”
 

He offers the following scenario to highlight the vital role that experience plays in your growth as an athlete: “Let’s say you’ve never competed before – you might be too nervous to eat even though your body needs the fuel. A lot of first-timers to competitions don’t eat as much as they need to either because they’re too nervous or pumped-up. You need to know the right way to eat so you can perform at your best. Experience is gold.”
 

4. Invest In Pre-hab As An Injury Shield
Injury prevention insider trading: focus on strengthening work, and correct muscle imbalances with pre-hab. “Pre-hab is probably the biggest way to avoid injuries and to take care of your body,” de Sanctis says. “Pre-hab gets your muscles intact. It also makes them mobile and flexible for what you’ve got to do.”
 

Here’s a crash course on the human anatomy and how you can avoid injuries: “The shoulders, by design, are very loose,” de Sanctis says. “When you do sports like CrossFit, which involve a lot of high-rep gymnastic movements, you can experience a lot of strain on the shoulders.”
 

So take a leaf out of de Sanctis’ book: “I do a lot of work with resistance bands as a pre-hab to get the scapula strong. I also focus on overhead mobility with kettlebells, rotator cuff movements and general mobility for shoulders.”
 

5. Cool Down, Train Different
Get an edge over the other guys in your next training session by boosting your post-workout recovery. “Try taking an ice bath for your sore muscles,” de Sanctis suggests. “You can do cool downs too. Spend 10 minutes on a foam roller or on the air bike. It’s a great way to flush out lactic acid from your muscles, and to get your circulation back on track for better recovery.”
 

If you’re coming back from an injury, consult a physiotherapist to find a programme that works for you, de Sanctis advises. Remember: you don’t have to stop training completely just because you’re injured. “For example, if you hurt your shoulder, you can go on a back squat cycle. You can do a lot of back squats, core work, lower back exercises, and hopefully dead lift as well – so long as it doesn’t hurt your shoulder. There’s still a lot of things that you can do. You can even go running.”

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