I have been fortunate enough to work with elite professional athletes for the past 4 years both in the gym and with nutritional coaching. From my experience working with these athletes I’ve noticed that there are certain habits they all share, which contributes to their success. What is interesting is that several of my other clients (who are very successful in their respective fields) possess the same attributes as these athletes. The habits are universal and lead to success regardless of the arena.
The following are the common habits I have observed from working with elite athletes:
1. Exercise is a must – End of Story, no discussion. Obviously it is an essential part of their job but they are still required to consciously decide to train every day. It is easy for them justify an extra day off but they don’t. Although you may not feel that it is as important for you to exercise I assure you it is. Exercising regularly puts us in a position to be physically and mentally able to complete all the tasks in our lives; whether that means being “ON” for your board meting or having the energy to play with your kids. Exercising is non- negotiable.
2. Athletes put emphasis on the recovery process – This one is crucial and often overlooked. On average we go through 50 mini stressors DAILY and our bodies, unfortunately, don’t have the ability to differentiate those stressors. Being attacked by a bear and being late to pick up your kids from hockey practice are viewed similarly by the body. These mini stressors we experience throughout our day put serious strain on our bodies and over time if you are not recovering properly it can lead to chronic wellness issues. Recovery can be as simple as allowing yourself to wind down/ reading a book. It can also take more preparation such as meditation, deep breathing techniques, sleep protocols (nap time is a serious thing) or ongoing physical treatment (chiro, massage etc.). For some reason this is often missed in the corporate world, the “you’ll sleep when you die” mentality often reigns supreme. In my opinion this attitude is a set up for a big crash either mental, physical or emotional.
Check out my post here on how to recover like an athlete.
3. They eat like they give a crap – Now I am not saying that this is all encompassing statement because there is definitely work that can be done with some athlete’s diets but, for the most part athletes take their food seriously. They look at food as either helping them or hurting them and understand the link between nutrition and performance. This is important for all walks of life not just as an athlete. If you are preparing for a big project at work you want to have the energy and mental clarity to focus 110% and that comes down to your fuel, exercise regime and recovery process.
4. They hire coaches/seek help – Athletes are at the peak of physical health yet they all have specific coaches they hire to help push them to greater heights. I am not saying everyone should go out and hire a coach for every aspect of life but I am suggesting to hone in on some specific areas you would like to excel. It could be a business coach to help take your business to the next level, a personal trainer to help push through that plateau you’ve been experiencing or it could be a nutritional coach to help clean up you sugar addiction. Whatever it is there will be a coach in that area that can improve your skillset.
5. They mentally prepare for performance – Athletes tend to use techniques such as Imagery and Creative Visualization in order to prepare for competition. These techniques have been proven to prepare athletes mentally and improve performance in high stress situations. These techniques can be applied to all professions, not only athletics. In order to optimize results in anything arena it is important that we mentally prepare ourselves for all outcomes and situations. Doing so will help you to cope under duress and increase your emotional intelligence.
6. They set goals – You will rarely meet elite athletes who do not have specific goals for excellence in their sport. Athletes evaluate their performance and set regular goals to improve specific areas. In setting these goals they are reminded of their motivating factors as they work towards something greater. (see my blog post on goal setting)
7. They see setbacks as growth and development – Athletes do not have an unblemished winning record, even Floyd Mayweather (although undefeated as a professional) lost in the Olympics. He talks frequently about how it was an important lesson in his athletic career. Athletes understand the value of a lesson learned through adversity. I am not saying that athletes are happy when they lose, rather that they take a lesson from it and become stronger competitors as a result of the adjustments.
So there you have it, start living the high performance lifestyle today!
As always I would love your feedback. How do you live a high performance lifestyle? what habits have you developed that help you to excel at your craft?
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– Sylvie (OG Lifestyles)