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Disciplined Fitness Regimen Coupled With Balanced Dietary Programme Is The Key To Athletes’ Success
Athletes are considered to be the benchmark of the optimal level of personal fitness. What makes their fitness so enviable and desirable by non-athletes like you and me? Their strict daily routine is what distinguishes them from the rest: from waking up early in the morning to going to bed at night and leaving their comfortable beds again the next morning, they remain an integral part of the athletes’ daily routine. However, maintaining a disciplined routine is not everyone’s cup of tea. This requires a high degree of dedication as well as passion to achieve a peak level of fitness through daily exercise. This urge comes from the dispensation towards achieving the goals that the athletes have set for themselves. And what is the favorite and most valued goal of an athlete? Regardless of the nation or sport the athletes represent, they always aim to achieve ultimate glory at the Olympics and the respective world championships. The greatest achievers of all time are the strictest followers of a disciplined exercise regimen. Mark Spitz, Usain Bolt, Nadia Comaneci, Mohammad Ali, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan and other famous athletes become what they are known for thanks to a well-organized daily routine. Taking you on a journey of fitness and health imperatives for athletes by peeking into the regimens of several famous athletes, this article discusses the importance of the daily routine that athletes follow to stay in shape to achieve their sporting dreams.
What could be the ideal daily routine for athletes? To find the answer to this question, we need to dive deeper into the topic and do some insightful research. However, there is a risk of sweeping generalizations in the search for an answer. This is because examiners often make the mistake of not distinguishing between different sporting goals and often relate success, most prominently, to degree of fitness level. However, they are somewhat right, but they remain ignorant of the fact that competing in different sports requires specialized training to acquire the right skills and specific physical strength. Natalie Rizzo, author of the health, nutrition and fitness blog at nutricisedr.com, writes in a January blog post about the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, “What we don’t always think about is that athletes from different sports at the Winter Olympics in In Sochi 2014, they have different goals that lead to very different training and nutrition regimes.” He further adds, “Some sports require speed, while others focus on strength and distance. Some athletes benefit from being lean, while others find it beneficial to bulk up and increase their strength.”
Clearly, Rizzo’s analysis shows that there is no universal fitness regimen for all athletes. The nature of the fitness regime is determined by the goals that athletes strive for in national and international sporting events. A sprinter like Usain Bolt would follow a very different daily routine than a shot putter like Ulf Timmerman or David Storl. The skills these players possess or want to acquire shape their daily practice regimen. Usain Bolt, the fastest sprinter in the world, would focus on training programs that lead to improved endurance, muscle strength especially in the lower limbs, controlled breathing, jumping and so on. Shot putters, on the other hand, would aim to increase shoulder and forearm strength, build momentum before throwing, physical balance within the throwing circle, and similar skills.
Daily exercises and trainings
Despite the specialized training for different sports disciplines, common points can be found in the daily regimen for athletes of all genres. Some general training and exercises followed by athletes may include:
- Basics of fitness training
- Strength training
- Running and walking
- Push ups
- Stretching exercises
- Exercises to build endurance
- Breathing exercises.
Examples from different sports fields
There are a number of world-class trainers and fitness experts who have suggested a daily fitness regime that should be followed by athletes representing various sports. Among them is professional coach George Payan, who trains sprinters. Payan maintains an online coaching resource, http://www.coacheseducation.com, where he has developed daily workouts for different types of athletes. As an example, he described a comprehensive daily routine for 400m sprinters. Starting Monday, Payan detailed workouts for each lean day with occasional rest days.
Michael Phelps, the celebrated swimmer and record holder for the most Olympic gold, who eclipsed former record holder Mark Spitz at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, follows a strict daily routine. Although there are some special characteristics unique to Phelps that separate him from the average grown man, he still works hard six days a week. Outlining its natural features, Jonathan P. Wade writes in Motley Health:
“Phelps is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 185 pounds (84 kg). He has a frame of 14 feet and an arm reach of 6 feet 7 inches, which is 3 inches longer than his height. He has relatively short legs for his height , which gives him an added advantage in the pool. His knees are double and his feet can turn 15 degrees more than average, allowing them to fully straighten so that his powerful feet act like fins. These genetic advantages help him to strike wall and the dolphin chases itself 10 m before it actually has to swim.”
Despite these attributes, Phelps’ daily routine includes swimming six hours or 8 miles a day. He usually goes to the pool by 6:30 every morning and swims six days a week including holidays. In addition to his swimming regimen, he also follows a weight lifting regimen, spending about an hour three days a week along with one hour three days a week stretching. Phelps was nicknamed the “human dolphin” because of his superior swimming ability.
The Phelps Diet
Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories every day. His breakfast includes:
- Three fried egg sandwiches topped with cheese
- Green salad
- Fried onions
Usain Bolt, another typical athlete and role model for young athletes in the profession, is also a hard-working coach like Phelps. Although Bolt is also a naturally gifted athlete, he follows a strict regimen to maintain his agility and lightning speed. Bolt is the current world record holder in the 100m and 200m sprint categories at the Olympics.
Bolt’s typical daily routine includes:
- Lunges with weights with heavy dumbbells
- Squats with weights
- Cable foot drives
- Explosive barbell steps
- Bunny Hops / Box Jumps
- Frog jumps
- Ankle rollers
- Skipping high knees
In addition to the aforementioned workouts, Usain Bolt’s daily regimen includes flexibility exercises and sprints. Bolt trains intensively for 3 hours a day followed by rest, massage and relaxation to ensure full recovery before the next training session.
The Bolt Diet
Usain Bolt’s typical diet includes high-energy meals containing 60% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 10% fat. He consumes about 196 grams of muscle-building protein every day.
The above brief discussion has shed some light on the daily routines of athletes including diet plans. But just maintaining perfect physical shape to participate in national and international competitions means more. In addition to physical agility and strength, good mental health is also imperative to sustaining a long career in athletics. According to Marv Zauderer, who is a licensed psychotherapist in San Francisco, USA and works with amateur and professional athletes from all sports, he emphasizes the importance of mental fitness for peak performance. According to Marv, a lack of mental fitness creates psychological barriers for athletes to achieve optimal performance.
“Self-doubt, nerves, uncertainty, frustration, distractions, hesitation, fear, intimidation – these are all obstacles to reaching your full physical potential. The body you train so hard can be derailed, in an instant, by a limitation in mental fitness. But what does “mental fitness” really mean? Integrating body and mind effortlessly, working in harmony to produce a sense of flow, of being in the elusive zone? Well, yes, it’s a glorious experience when (if!) it happens, and working on your mental skills increases the likelihood of that happening.”
Another expert, Jesse Kropelnicki (to learn more about Jesse Kropelnicki, check out his blog http://www.kropelnicki.com ) who provides professional training to triathletes like Marv, keeps mental fitness on a high note.
“Just as optimal physical fitness is highly personalized, so is mental fitness.”
Since expert opinions argue that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, athletes should also incorporate some mental training regimens into their daily routine to overcome psychological limitations while competing at the highest level. They can do yoga, acrobatic exercises, dance or meditate to maintain good mental health.
Like professionals in any other field, athletes also need to follow a disciplined daily routine to achieve their ambitions in their sports. A famous quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes goes like this: “Success is not the position you are in, but the direction you are going.” Wendell Holmes’ quote shows the stagnation factor that people often fall victim to after achieving an honest goal. little success; you need to keep going in order to added milestone after milestone.It is quite often observed that when people achieve something, they tend to become complacent, which in turn inhibits the secret of their success, which is a disciplined daily routine.
Therefore, it is imperative for athletes to follow a strict daily routine. Undoubtedly, they will be faced with distractions, but they must build a strong mental frame to stay on solid footing. Another factor that sometimes imposes a psychological barrier on athletes’ willingness to stick to a strict routine is lack of motivation. Sometimes they would feel down and lose their determination to do their best. In such a scenario, they could boost their morale by reading biographies of successful athletes or watching films of valor and glory. During these crisis hours, their mental coaches play a key role in rejuvenating their inner desires to compete and succeed.
Trainers can motivate them with anecdotes or personal life experiences. A lively and humorous environment can also prove very helpful in solving problems. There could be many causes for an athlete’s lack of motivation: family problems, fights with a friend or any other stress-related problems. They can be solved with the timely intervention of a psychologist. When faced with such problems, it would be better for athletes to solve them before the ball becomes a bigger problem. Once athletes regain their lost composure, they should begin workouts and training programs and gradually reach a peak regimen as part of their normal daily routine. Therefore, an ideal daily routine, in addition to physical training and a good diet plan, also includes strengthening mental strength.
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