Whether you've just started on your athletic journey or you are an experienced veteran, chances are you are making one or more of these mistakes.
- You have the wrong mindset
- You don't have a training plan
- You don't take care of your health
- You ignore proper nutrition
- You don't arm yourself with knowledge
If you are making any of these mistakes, you would do best to correct them as soon as possible.
Let's look at them in more detail.
1. You have the wrong mindset
Having the correct mindset is important in all things, and as much so in sports.
A wrong mindset can lead you down a strange path and cause you to do the wrong things, make the wrong choices, and ultimately hurt your health and athletic performance.
Of course, what the right mindset is, is a difficult question, and quite a subjective one.
In our opinion, the right mindset means you have clearly defined long-term goals, reasonable expectations, and an open mind to accept the advice of experts and peers.
If there is a single advice to give, it's that you should view your athletic journey as a marathon and not a sprint. Way too often, and that's something we've committed countless times ourselves, we try to go way too hard, possibly to compensate for a period of inactivity. Don't do that.
Instead you should aim for steady progress. You don't have to make each training session the best you ever had, just make sure you do it according to your plan.
And speaking of plans, let's go to mistake number two.
2. You don't have a training plan
You probably heard the saying 'A bad plan is better than no plan'. Well, when it comes to training, that definitely tends to be true.
Having a structured routine aimed to improve specific aspects of your athletic performance, even if not perfect, will always trump just randomly exercising when you feel like it.
A structured plan also allows you to have a better mindset, as you can follow the plan and not waste time thinking what you should or shouldn't do.
It also allows you to gauge your progress over a certain period of time, which is not only the most reasonable way to consistently make progress, but it might also increase your desire and motivation to train.
And speaking of training plans, you shouldn't neglect strength exercises. Building up your core strength is a very important, and often very neglected aspect that protects you from injuries and improves your athletic performance in any sport.
Of course, your athletic performance is also related to your health, which brings us to the mistake number three.
3. You don't take care of your health
Part of any sport these days, and especially endurance sports, is to push yourself to the limit.
Pushing our limits is great. It helps us become better versions of ourselves and it trains our body and mind to go beyond the limits we might have put on ourselves.
But don't be fooled. As much as pushing your limits can be fun, exciting, and rewarding, you should never, ever forget about your health.
Way too many athletes have fallen off course due to injuries and health issues. Some of them can't be prevented, but many can.
So when it comes to health, don't forget that a healthy athlete has a hundred goals, but a sick athlete only one. Treasure your health and allow it to work for you in the long run.
Which brings us to mistake number four.
4. You don't take care of proper nutrition
We are always sad to see that so many athletes, including young athletes, fail to take care of proper nutrition.
Your health, athletic performance, and general well-being will all suffer if you don't take care of proper nutrition. You might even develop chronic conditions, such as RED-S.
Does this mean you have to use dietary supplements?
Well, yes and no.
It is obviously possible to get all you need from regular food. After all, supplements are really just food in a different form.
But when we consider high-intensity exercise and the elevated needs of athletes, it is both impractical and unlikely to be able to get by simply with food.
Finally, there are things like adaptogens, which you really can't get from food. Do you need them? Maybe not, but they provide several benefits that you might find useful.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide. But if you want to decide, you need knowledge. And this brings us to the final mistake.
5. You don't arm yourself with knowledge
The amount of knowledge available today by far exceeds any other period in human history. And yet, so many athletes make the mistake of embracing ignorance. Don't be one of them.
Whatever question you have, be it pertinent to training, sports nutrition, or teaching your dog to ride a bicycle while juggling tennis balls, there is information available that can help you achieve those goals.
We cringe when we hear athletes say how an energy gel is bad, and then claim a ham sandwich trumps all supplements. This is not a moral debate on food vs supplements. It's just basic logic and science.
Teach yourself to find the facts, learn to see the negative and positive aspects of every issue, and then make a decision that works for you!
Our goal has always been to arm ourselves with knowledge, but also to share that knowledge with you. And we try our best, still learning as we go, how to best achieve that.
And you know what's usually the greatest impediment to knowledge? A closed mind. Which brings us back to the first mistake on our list, and we come full circle.
Making mistakes is normal, and it allows you to learn from them.
But make too many mistakes, and your health, well-being, and athletic performance will suffer.
If you find you are making any of the mistakes on our list, we advise you to correct them as soon possible, possibly with the help of our content.