Athletes work hard to gain an edge over their opponents. Whether that means staying an extra hour at practice, eating the same boring foods every day, or giving up vices like alcohol, athletes look for ways to improve.
Professional athletes are the cream of the crop at their chosen sport and the difference between winners and losers in competition is often miniscule. That’s why they have to fight so hard to gain a slight edge over their opponents.
Thankfully, most of us regular people don’t have to worry about that. However, some of the same technology and techniques that are sold to athletes to help them improve are also marketed to regular people.
Gatorade, for example, is a sports drink that was originally designed for track and field athletes. It quickly grew in popularity because it works well for hydration and sports performance. On a hot day you need electrolytes, sugar and water to recover and get back into competition.
Chances are you don’t need to get a gatorade to fuel your workout, unless you’re doing a long run or cycling event. Gatorade is still a popular drink because it makes people feel a little bit like an elite athlete who needs to recover from rigorous competition.
There’s an entire section of the fitness industry centered around recovery. Foam rollers have evolved into expensive massage guns. You can go to a cryotherapy center to try to enhance muscle recovery or reduce inflammation in nagging injuries.
Recovery is big business, and one concept that’s made its way out of elite sports is taking time off of training. An athlete training for the olympics or a big sporting event can easily push themselves too far, to the point where they need time off. Think of a marathon runner who’s running roughly 20 miles prior to the day of the marathon. They need time off between their final training run and the actual event to recover, because their training is so intense.
Chances are you don’t need to take time away from the gym. Most people have the opposite problem of trying to get enough exercise during the week. You can work the same muscle groups on back-to-back days, workout for four or five days in a row, and do some exercise every day without pushing your body too far.
Signs that you’re training too hard or too frequently include nagging injuries (sore knees, hips, back, elbows, etc.) and getting sick often (a sign that your immune system is compromised). For the most part, you should probably training more often and with more effort!