What makes an athlete?
Well, depending on your lifestyle, it could be a number of things. Maybe you’re training every day to prepare yourself to make big bucks on the field. Or maybe you’ve been making lay-ups on the court since you were a kid and the sport still runs in your veins. Either way, there are things athletes should do every day to improve their form, build strength, increase endurance, and improve their overall wellbeing.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 key things athletes should incorporate into their daily routines to improve their sports performance and quality of life. Adherence to these 5 practices defines what an athlete really is.
The type of exercise you should perform will depend on the type of sport you perform. If you are an endurance athlete, strength training can significantly improve your economy, muscle power, and performance.  Specifically, if you are a marathon runner, a cross country skier, avid rower, or a dedicated triathlon athlete, regular strength training exercises will help train your body to use its resources efficiently, pump up your muscles, and let you do more when it’s time to perform.
Whether you are an endurance athlete or not, incorporating regular exercise into your routine will not only supply your body with what it takes to be an athlete (physically speaking), but will also promote healthy functions throughout your body that can help prevent and cure diseases and increase lifespan . With a strong and healthy body, athletes can enjoy more than just their favorite sports for years to come.
As an athlete, much of your exercise may come from simply regular training for a particular sport. This can count towards your physical activity requirements provided that your exercise routine is well-rounded and targets areas throughout your entire body. If this isn’t the case, your training routine may need to be adjusted or you may need to incorporate different workouts outside of your training.
Remember, daily exercise is important, but getting sufficient rest is also essential. In fact, having too much exercise is a real issue and can result in serious problems like coronary artery disease and cardiovascular abnormalities and arrhythmias.  Endurance athletes are more at risk for these health problems because of the training required for optimal performance, but other athletes are also at risk.
Although working out plays a huge role in the type of athlete you are, what makes an athlete also includes what you do when your body is not in motion. Knowing when to stop is crucial. Overtraining Syndrome, also known as OTS or burnout, refers to a condition of intense fatigue and reduced performance in physical activity as a result of physically overworking the body. OTS can affect a number of functions in the body and can have other consequences such as injury, mood changes, and a lowered immune system. 
Resting your body is absolutely crucial for top performance in any physical activity. When it comes to daily rest, resting in between your workouts and resting at the end of the day are very important. In terms of your weekly routine, incorporating at least one rest day during the week will give your muscles adequate time to recover and allow the rest of your body to heal from any potential illnesses.
The human body needs certain foods in order to function and function well. You can’t expect to feel and look good if you’re only eating junk food. And as an athlete, you certainly can’t expect to perform at your best if you’re not eating the right foods. Just like cars, our bodies need the right kind of fuel to function properly. Researchers have been studying the benefits of proper nutrition for years and have found that athletes and non-athletes both need a well-balanced diet to lead healthy and happy lives. 
There are three things you should aim to get on your plate at every meal: carbs, protein, and fats. However, it can be easy to eat the wrong things—or too much of one thing—if you’re not careful.
The best carbs are found in things like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  As for protein, beans, low-fat milk is best. If you’re choosing to eat meat or poultry, opt for leaner cuts. While the amount of protein you need depends on the type and level of physical activity you participate in, eating the right kind of protein will help build muscle protein and improve functioning.  Finally, to add some healthy fats to your meal, foods such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil will do the trick. Healthy fats have been proven to lower metabolism, and improve performance and overall health. 
While some of these foods may work for some individuals, athletes following a vegan or vegetarian diet may find it a little difficult to regularly achieve a balanced diet with limited information available on the subject. Thankfully, it is possible to get proper nutrition on a diet free of meat or animal products, although some added effort may be required. For example, aside from being lower in protein and fat, vegetarian diets usually have lower amounts of vitamin B12, Riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc compared to omnivorous diets.  For this reason, adjusting your diet to include as much of these as possible and regularly taking the right supplements, can help you get your diet where it needs to be.
Whether or not you’re a vegan, a vegetarian, or an all-around omnivore, it is easier than you think to be deficient in a variety of compounds. If you think you’ve done all you can with your diet, supplements are here to save the day. When taken as recommended, supplements can give you the push you need to take your diet and exercise to the next level. Maybe you’ve hit a plateau and are having trouble bulking up or maybe your primary goal is burning fat. Whatever your aim, the best supplements will help you get there and give you what it takes to be an athlete.
There is evidence that suggests meditation can heal the mind and body and improve your physical well-being. Meditating helps clear your mind so you can be a kinder, calmer, and happier person. In fact, regularly practicing mindfulness can help athletes manage negative emotions in their daily lives and during sports-related challenges . People respect athletes who can keep their passion in the game and give their opponents high fives when it’s all over. This is a characteristic of a true athlete.
Incorporating supplements into your routine can help you achieve better mindfulness when it is time to meditate. For example, L-theanine and 5-HTP are found in a number of supplements and can help improve the effects of meditation.
Remember, these practices should be done every day in order to see a difference. With these healthy habits, athletes can perform better in sports and remain healthy in the long run without a significant risk of injury or hospitalization that could mean the end of their career or hobby.
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