You've been hitting the gym and seeing great results. But now you want more. Curious about how the pros get and stay in world-class shape? Sometimes just a few tweaks to your approach are all you need to start making remarkable progress.
We've asked three leading fitness athletes for advice on how to go from good to great. Each of these tips can help you become a well-balanced athlete ready to tackle any challenge thrown your way.
1. Combine Cardio With Strength Training
Add cardio elements to your strength routine through "active rest," performing short bursts of cardio during your rest periods. "It'll save you time and skyrocket your results," says RSP athlete Hannah Eden.
Eden explains that keeping your heart rate elevated during strength training helps you burn more calories, build bigger and stronger muscles, and increase your flexibility.
"Start with 30-60 seconds of intense cardio with explosive movements such as jumping rope, tuck jumps, box jumps, and broad jumps," Eden says. "Then, pick up your heavy weights to pump more oxygen and nutrients into your targeted muscles. This combination is a great way to supercharge muscle growth."
2. Train Your Core Lifts
When it comes to your exercise selection, don't skip the big lifts. "There is no way around it," says RSP athlete Curtis Bartlett. "You just can't afford to avoid the two core lifts: squats and deadlifts."
If you're a regular at the gym, chances are you never see anyone skipping chest day. But keep your eye on the squat rack, and you might notice that it's hardly ever in use—at least, not for squats. "Even if people do work their legs, you rarely see them using the squat rack or the deadlift platform," says Bartlett. "While I have nothing against machines, and often use them toward the end of a workout, they can't replace the benefits and core activation gained from doing squats and deadlifts."
Bartlett recommends doing some variation of squats and deadlifts every other day to build and maintain a solid foundation.
3. Stop The Comparison Game
"One of my favorite quotes to live by is, 'Comparison is the thief of joy,'" says RSP athlete Kieon Dorsey. "It's fine to use people you follow on social media, or even the legendary greats, for motivation and inspiration," he says. "But never compare yourself to them, because there will always be someone bigger, better, stronger, and faster than you."
Instead, Dorsey recommends measuring success by the progress you're making and by remembering why you started in the first place. "It's a great idea to take time every so often and reflect on how much progress you've made," he says. "Look at how far you've come instead of how far you have to go."