You know how the average adult male requires about 2500 calories per day? The average adult female requires even less, needing only about 2000 calories a day to keep a healthy metabolism running the way it should. But these numbers don’t even come close to the unbelievable caloric intake of professional athletes, who require thousands more. Most notably, Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps would consume around 12,000 calories during his training days.
Athletes require this increased number of calories for an obvious reason: they burn them off faster than the rest of us.
Part of a professional athlete’s training regimen isn’t just about gaining the strength and endurance to compete at a higher level; no, it’s about reducing the chance of injury during a game or race. This means that even athletes who don’t necessarily need huge biceps will lift weights. They do these exercises to increase bone density and get their joints, tendons, and ligaments ready for the pressures of later performance.
Athletes who fail to take these weight training measures will often fall victim to common injuries like tendinitis or a torn ligament. Another reason they train all their muscles instead of just the ones they require to play their chosen sport is due to the potential for muscle imbalance. Our bodies are built to maintain a certain equilibrium of movement: we require balance. Too much training of one muscle group will result in reduced dexterity and balance.
Athletes use a variety of exercises to help achieve their goals:
- Elastic bands. Dozens of exercises can be performed with the aid of an elastic band, which helps athletes gain muscle, endurance, and joint strength.
- Sleep. Athletes make sure they get at least eight hours of sleep, which is recommended for all adults anyway. The required rest helps the body repair itself while building back up.
- Compound movement. These exercises focus on multiple muscle groups instead of just one in order to increase joint resistance.
- Jumping. Exercises that involve jumping will help players who use these skills in their sport learn to be safe.
- Hydrating. Non-professional athletes often make the mistake of failing to drink enough water. A professional athlete won’t be caught dead thirsty.
- Walking. Sounds somewhat mundane, right? But walking can do wonders for sore, stiff muscles that aren’t ready for another extreme bout of exercise yet.
- Running and swimming. Both of these exercises are common, but athletes will perform them for much longer periods of time in order to gain god-like endurance and train muscles that don’t otherwise see much use.