THE only way to increase athletic performance is to isolate your weaknesses and work diligently to improve them.
This may seem like advice for high-level athletes, but what works for them will work for you, too!
No, we can't all be Olympic decathletes, but attaining overall fitness that includes a balance of speed, strength, stamina and stability should be almost everybody's first exercise priority.
Life, after all, is the world's toughest contact sport, and just as professional athletes can't simply punch the clock at game time, getting and staying fit requires a 24-hour commitment.
So here is some advice to help you be your very best.
We've all seen the barrel chested, and stomach'ed, hulk who almost-exclusively rocks bicep curls and bench press, or the tiny-waisted woman who power walks 'til she nearly drops. These individuals may well possess impressive isolated traits and abilities, but well rounded athletes they are not.
Even far less extreme examples deserve scrutiny.
So the next time you're at the gym, consider which area of fitness is most lacking for you and begin working to improve it. For optimal results, consider seeking a trained fitness professional to help you design a truly comprehensive program. You can even start with baby-steps. Do you usually jog for cardio? Try thirty-second sprint intervals with one-minute breaks. If you're the peaceful yoga type, take an explosive kickboxing class - or, and perhaps especially, vice versa!
Chances are your body will struggle at first to acclimate to these new activities. You may even feel out of shape for the first time in years. But, guess what? That's exactly the point.
The fact is, most of us tend to focus what we are already best at, but doing so means we will forever miss out on developing the most impressive and beneficial physical trait of all: athletic balance.
Of course, there is a second crucial component to becoming the best athlete you can be, and that's proper nutrition. It starts with eating three square meals per day and appropriate morning and afternoon snacks, while limiting sugars, fats, and late-night carbohydrates.
Above all, beware: if your regular workouts have become a surefire source of comfort and an instantly gratifying ego boost, you almost certainly stopped improving long, long ago.
Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer. For further information call 604-420-7800 or go to www.karpfitness.com.