Staying Motivated As An Aspiring Athlete
Motivation is the foundation of all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performances, all of the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless. To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals.
In this article, we will take a look at how to stay motivated as aspiring athletes and also recommend some diets to maintain optimal levels.
What is Motivation?
Motivation, simply defined, is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. To perform your best, you must want to begin the process of developing as an athlete and you must be willing to maintain your efforts until you have achieved your goals. Motivation in sports is so important because you must be willing to work hard in the face of fatigue, boredom, pain, and the desire to do other things.
Motivation will impact everything that influences your sports performance: physical conditioning, technical and tactical training, mental preparation, and general lifestyle including sleep, diet, school or work, and relationships.
The reason motivation is so important is that it is the only contributor to sports performance over which we actually have control. There are three things that affect how well you perform.
First, your ability, which includes your physical, technical, tactical, and mental capabilities. Second, the difficulty of the competition influences performance. Contributors to difficulty include the ability of the opponent and external factors such as an “away game” crowd and weather conditions such as temperature, wind, sun or other important elements. Whether your coach or team mates are coaching you or not, if for some reason they couldn’t make it, can also impact the outcome… Unfortunately, we have no control over these factors.
Finally, motivation will significantly impact our performance. It is also the only factor over which we have control. Motivation will directly impact the level of success that you ultimately achieve. If you are highly motivated to improve your performances, then you will put in the time and effort necessary.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Motivation will also influence the level of performance when you begin a competition. If you’re competing against someone of nearly equal skill, it will not be ability that will determine the outcome. Rather, it will be the athlete who works the hardest, who doesn’t give up, and who performs his or her best when it counts. In other words, the athlete who is most motivated to win.
Tips to Remain Motivated as an Aspiring Athlete!
Set actionable, Specific goals
A common pattern observed in top athletes when training is that they set actionable, specific goals. These goals are not vague, such as ‘I want to run faster’ – instead, they set extremely specific goals such as ‘Today at mile three, I will push myself extra hard and achieve a six-minute mile.’ Focusing on specific activities will help you concentrate on the present moment, taking your mind off the overwhelming challenges of your larger goal.
Trick your brain: Talk yourself through challenges
When athletes undergo grueling training, their bodies are pushed to the brink of exhaustion. At this point, their body will try to conserve resources. Aspiring athletes must constantly tell themselves that they will make it, even when their body feels like it’s going to fail, essentially tricking our minds to continue functioning.
Self-improvement over winning
Setting personal milestones for yourself and recording your achievements can help fuel your fitness routine.
Have a training partner
It’s hard to stay motivated all the time on your own, and research has shown that obligation to another can serve as a strong source of motivation. When you have someone there alongside you, pushing you, you will automatically work harder. The person can be a trainer, friend or parent – what’s important is that you have a regular training partner who is about the same level of ability and who shares similar training goals with you. Knowing that someone is counting on you to show up will get you out of bed and on the way to the gym!
Recommended Diets To Support The Best Performance
Food is the fuel that helps athletes perform their best. Without it, endurance, strength and overall performance will be down. If you want to get the most out of your workouts and athletic capabilities, your diet should be a top priority in your fitness efforts.
As your body puts out energy through exercise and training, you need to replenish those lost nutrients, which can be done by choosing the right foods. Here are recommended diets to support your performance:
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Milk (Even Chocolate Milk!)
- Hydrating Foods
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whey Protein
- Flax seed, Olive and Coconut Oil
Intermittent Fasting: Pros & Cons
All diets achieve weight loss through the same equation — you take in less food energy each day than your body burns for normal activity. Intermittent fasting achieves this goal by severely limiting calories during certain days of the week or during specified hours during the day. The theory is that intermittent fasting will help decrease appetite by slowing the body’s metabolism.
- Promotion health and weight loss
- Reduces fat free mass
- Increases brain function
- Promotes & improves body composition
- It might make you feel sick or fatigued in the morning, especially if you work out first thing.
- You might feel way hungrier
- It doesn’t always play nice with other diets
- Fasting diets are rigid and rule-based
- It may lead to low sugar level
- It doesn’t always help you create mindful eating habits
What About Keto Diet?
Keto diet is an eating strategy where you power your system on fat, rather than carbohydrates. A standard ketogenic diet consists of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates, though there is some room for modification to meet your personal goals.
- Can help you with weight loss
- May improve cognitive functioning
- May slow various cancers
- May reduce inflammation from high blood sugar
- Helps you to kick the sugar habit
- Long-term research is limited
- The diet may trigger brain fog
- Going keto limit your fruits and vegetables intake
- Easy to accidentally eat unhealthy foods
What are some of your favorite ways to motivate yourself? Share your thoughts with us using the comment box below…