We’ve all heard the saying “train hard, expect results,” right? When motivation runs high, it can be pretty easy to push things at the gym, especially when there’s an end goal like a major game or competition in sight. But all that hard work won’t translate into you performing your best if you don’t take the time recover properly before the big day. Here are five ways you should taper your workouts before a competition to help you do your best.
Reduce the intensity of the workout
You know that gratuitous sore muscle feeling you get after a really tough but satisfying workout? You don’t want to feel that way in the lead up to your competition—especially not on the big day. Consider cutting down the weight you’re putting up or reducing the number of reps or sets you’re doing. At this point, you don’t want to be building muscle or lifting to fatigue.
Don’t try anything new
Sometimes it can be tempting to fill up the time you would normally spend working out with something new. Now is not the time to take long walks or try that new exercise class that you’ve been meaning to check out. This includes trying new foods as well. There’s nothing like discovering that you’re allergic or intolerant to a new type of food right before the big day.
Clean up your diet
Have you ever noticed how lethargic you feel after consuming junk food? Keeping your diet clean and full of nutrients can give you a competitive edge in advance of your competition. Keep yourself well hydrated, avoid foods high in sugar and reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake. If you need a ready-made, three-day meal plan leading up to a big game, we’ve got you covered.
Get more sleep
In an ideal world, nine to 10 hours of sleep a day is considered the standard for optimal performance among athletes. Even if you aren’t hitting 10 hours of sleep a night, adding 30 minutes to an hour each night in the week leading up to your competition will make a big difference. This is the time where choosing to sleep in will benefit you more than waking up early to hit the gym in the morning before work.
Get more rest, period
Now is not the time to cram. None of the workouts you do this week will make your competition better. In fact, overdoing it can harm your chances of performing your best. Stay off your feet and treat yourself to a movie. Take naps. Whatever you can do to keep yourself off your feet will ensure that you won’t tire yourself out.
Don’t psych out, psych down
Real strength comes from mental fitness
The easiest hard workout you’ll ever do