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Football on field
Fitness
Published Thursday Jan 30, 2020 by Mindbody Team

The Game Day Workout: How to Train Like a Pro Athlete

Fitness
Motivation
Expert Advice

The Big Game is coming up in just a few days—and if you’ve ever looked out on the field and been awe-struck by those football muscles, you’re not alone. It’s hard not to be impressed by these giants, who often weigh in at over 250 lbs. but can still run a 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds.

But no matter your fitness level, you can work to develop a pro-athlete-level workout routine. We did the research—here’s how to build a gridiron-inspired workout to get you looking like Jimmy G in no time (we like to aim high).

Start with stretching and dynamic warm-ups.

If you’ve ever been to a game well before kickoff, you’ve probably noticed the athletes warming up on the sidelines. They’re preparing their bodies for the rigors of an extremely intense 2-3-hour game. You should do the same before your workout. 

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of warming up before your workout. To start, you should know there are two basic types—static and dynamic. 

Static stretches are the standard ones you’re probably familiar with (like touching your toes or doing the flamingo). Depending on the body parts you’re targeting with your workout, you should work through a series of a few of these bad boys to limber up and prepare for intense exercise.

Dynamic stretches are ones that involve movement (a little self-explanatory)—you won’t be standing still during this routine. Dynamic stretching includes things like high knees, lunges, backpedal jogging, jogging in place—anything that gets you moving and warms up your muscles.

A combination of dynamic and static stretches targeting your preferred muscles before your workout will have you limbered up and ready for action!

1
Start with stretching and dynamic warm-ups.

If you’ve ever been to a game well before kickoff, you’ve probably noticed the athletes warming up on the sidelines. They’re preparing their bodies for the rigors of an extremely intense 2-3-hour game. You should do the same before your workout. 

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of warming up before your workout. To start, you should know there are two basic types—static and dynamic. 

Static stretches are the standard ones you’re probably familiar with (like touching your toes or doing the flamingo). Depending on the body parts you’re targeting with your workout, you should work through a series of a few of these bad boys to limber up and prepare for intense exercise.

Dynamic stretches are ones that involve movement (a little self-explanatory)—you won’t be standing still during this routine. Dynamic stretching includes things like high knees, lunges, backpedal jogging, jogging in place—anything that gets you moving and warms up your muscles.

A combination of dynamic and static stretches targeting your preferred muscles before your workout will have you limbered up and ready for action!

Boost your cardiovascular capacity.

Every football game includes periods of 10-20 seconds of incredibly intense action, accompanied by some downtime when the players plan their next play. To prepare for this type of high-intensity, short-term activity, NFL athletes use bootcamp-style High-Intensity Interval Training (AKA HIIT). This type of training is exactly what it sounds like—performing high-intensity workouts (like sprinting or battling ropes) for about 20-40 seconds. After that, you’ll take a rest period equal to the time you spent exercising. You can perform any activity you like, as long as you near maximal exertion. Bike sprints, jumping rope, burpees, jump squats—the choice is yours. 

Compared to moderate, prolonged exercise, HIIT has been shown to burn calories more quickly, and helps enhance your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. If you’re not sure where to start, many studios offer guided HIIT classes, find one near you!

2
Boost your cardiovascular capacity.

Every football game includes periods of 10-20 seconds of incredibly intense action, accompanied by some downtime when the players plan their next play. To prepare for this type of high-intensity, short-term activity, NFL athletes use bootcamp-style High-Intensity Interval Training (AKA HIIT). This type of training is exactly what it sounds like—performing high-intensity workouts (like sprinting or battling ropes) for about 20-40 seconds. After that, you’ll take a rest period equal to the time you spent exercising. You can perform any activity you like, as long as you near maximal exertion. Bike sprints, jumping rope, burpees, jump squats—the choice is yours. 

Compared to moderate, prolonged exercise, HIIT has been shown to burn calories more quickly, and helps enhance your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. If you’re not sure where to start, many studios offer guided HIIT classes, find one near you!

Focus on your core.

A strong core is key for NFL players. Your core connects your upper and lower bodies and lets them function as a unit, so don’t neglect it during your workouts! Some of the best core exercises that are popular among football players include:

●    Planks (hold for 1 minute straight, and you’ll be
      approaching NFL-level fitness!)

●    Hanging or lying leg raises
●    Crunches
●    Supermans 
●    Bridges

Hint: make sure to focus on both your abs and your back—a strong core requires balanced strength in both of these muscles.

3
Focus on your core.

A strong core is key for NFL players. Your core connects your upper and lower bodies and lets them function as a unit, so don’t neglect it during your workouts! Some of the best core exercises that are popular among football players include:

●    Planks (hold for 1 minute straight, and you’ll be
      approaching NFL-level fitness!)

●    Hanging or lying leg raises
●    Crunches
●    Supermans 
●    Bridges

Hint: make sure to focus on both your abs and your back—a strong core requires balanced strength in both of these muscles.

Strength train your lower half.

You may notice mostly the giant arms and shoulders on NFL players, but most of their speed and explosiveness comes from their lower body. If you want to build yourself to a similar level of fitness, you’ll definitely want to make sure you focus on your lower body during strength training.

Lower body strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, weighted lunges, deadlifts, and box step-ups/jumps are key for building up powerful glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves—and allowing you to develop power and intensity throughout the rest of your workout. 

4
Strength train your lower half.

You may notice mostly the giant arms and shoulders on NFL players, but most of their speed and explosiveness comes from their lower body. If you want to build yourself to a similar level of fitness, you’ll definitely want to make sure you focus on your lower body during strength training.

Lower body strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, weighted lunges, deadlifts, and box step-ups/jumps are key for building up powerful glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves—and allowing you to develop power and intensity throughout the rest of your workout. 

Don't work one muscle at a time.

One final thing NFL players usually incorporate into their routine is compound lifts during strength training. A compound exercise is one that involves a large number of different muscle groups, rather than just a single muscle (isolation exercise). A squat, for example, is a compound exercise. It involves your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even your calves. Using a leg press machine, in contrast, is an isolation exercise—it mostly just works your quads. 

Focusing on compound exercises increases the efficiency of your workout and also provides you with more functional strength. In real life, no muscle ever works alone. They’re all connected—so focusing on exercises that bring together complementary muscles will help you improve your overall strength! 

If you want to work out like an NFL athlete, follow these steps to boost your fitness and feel like a champ when your workout is over. Can’t do it at home? Download the MINDBODY app to find the perfect studio to help you fulfill your football fitness goals!

Interested in how SF compares to KC in wellness? Check out our MINDBODY Wellness Index Big Game Matchup 2020.

5
Don't work one muscle at a time.

One final thing NFL players usually incorporate into their routine is compound lifts during strength training. A compound exercise is one that involves a large number of different muscle groups, rather than just a single muscle (isolation exercise). A squat, for example, is a compound exercise. It involves your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even your calves. Using a leg press machine, in contrast, is an isolation exercise—it mostly just works your quads. 

Focusing on compound exercises increases the efficiency of your workout and also provides you with more functional strength. In real life, no muscle ever works alone. They’re all connected—so focusing on exercises that bring together complementary muscles will help you improve your overall strength! 

If you want to work out like an NFL athlete, follow these steps to boost your fitness and feel like a champ when your workout is over. Can’t do it at home? Download the MINDBODY app to find the perfect studio to help you fulfill your football fitness goals!

Interested in how SF compares to KC in wellness? Check out our MINDBODY Wellness Index Big Game Matchup 2020.

Mindbody team logo
Written by
Mindbody Team
Editors & Educators
About the author
We're here to provide you with the latest and greatest, tried and true wellness experiences and advice to help you live life to the fullest. From nourishing recipes and travel tips to finding the perfect sweat routine or wellness regimen—we cover it all. And if we haven't yet, it's definitely on the way.
woman with short hair staring into camera
Wellness
Published Thursday Apr 01, 2021 by Denise Prichard

Your Guide to Releasing Stress and Finding Peace

Expert Advice
Wellness
Self-care

Since 1992, April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. It was established to help shed light on the issues behind stress, teach us how to fight it, and create methods to overcome it. While this initiative has existed just shy of three decades, this year it seems particularly important.

With a year under our belts in pandemic mode—a lot of us had to get creative when it came to keeping our cool. On top of that, everyday stresses didn’t just magically disappear during this time either. Just think about it—have you ever been in a situation that was overwhelming? Maybe you’ve had a looming deadline or a to-do list that seems, well...totally un-doable? If you’ve ever felt you were in over your head, please know you’re not alone—you never are. At one time or another, we’ve all been affected by stress—although each person may manifest it differently. Me? I'm definitely a frequent rider on the "hot mess stress express."

There are many ways to help combat stress—some of us seek out support from friends and family, while others find solace in taking up meditation or unwinding with a relaxing yoga class. Whatever helps you find peace, just keep doing you. But also know we have some resources to help you overcome stress whenever the need arises.

Here are some blog posts that are always available to you when you feel a little stressed out:

shanila sattar header
 
1. Foundational Steps to Cultivating a Daily Self-love Practice  

When in doubt, breathwork expert and sound healer, Shanila Sattar, always has tips to help ground yourself—especially in times of need. In this blog post, she gives you the recipe for incorporating self-love into your daily routine by encouraging us to ask ourselves these questions: How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love? As we all know, self-love defines and redefines itself for everyone over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey. 

virtual meditation header
 
2. I Tried Virtual Meditation...Here’s What I Learned 

Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it aims to restore the mind, body, and soul through deep, guided meditation. The way it works is like the way a power nap helps one feel refreshed during a particularly exhausting day, except you aren’t technically sleeping. I describe it as a long-form of savasana—anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. (Real talk: savasana is one of the best parts of practicing yoga, am I right?) 

TLDR: I learned that I could conquer stress in a matter of minutes with Yoga Nidra. 

dani schenone yogi
 
3. Accessible Yoga Poses for Emotional Balance and Release 

Are we safe in saying this last year brought up a ton of emotions the likes of which we did not plan for? The good, the bad, the “unprecedented”—our hearts and minds have been taken on a wild rollercoaster ride, and for many of us, our mental health is suffering. With our minds running in thousands of directions, it’s hard to notice our own needs. Yes, our attention to the goings-on of last year is vital but caring for ourselves is as important as ever. Here are some tips from our favorite yoga instructor, Dani Schenone.  

shanila sattar header
4. Top Breathing Exercises for Anxiety and Depression and The New Normal

Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last year is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.

destress with yoga
 
5. The "Staying Grounded" Guide to Stress and Anxiety Pre- and Post-COVID-19

If you've got those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety coursing through your body right now, you're definitely not alone. We get it. Times are uncertain, our mental health is taxed, we're doing what we can to reduce stress and anxiety in general, and relaxation has taken a back seat. It’s no secret that stress is proven to weaken our immunity, so now more than ever, it's important to relax, deal with what's happening, and find the coping mechanisms to help you reclaim your mental health and reduce your involvement in stressed moments. Let's deal with stress and anxiety together and see what we can do to reduce them.

woman meditating
 
6. How to Meditate: A Beginner's Guide

Meditation will change your life if you let it. The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just 10 years ago. Technology improved our lives but also created a more frenetic and stressful pace. If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in each moment of our everyday lives.

woman in down dog
 
7. Cultivate Your Calm with These 7 Yoga Poses

There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s our career, relationships, dating, or trauma, we go through moments that bombard us with negative thoughts that can make us feel anxious and stressed. Our worries may often define our choices, our view of the world, or ourselves. This doesn’t mean they are faults, flaws, or downfalls—we just need to practice managing them in a healthy way, placing deserved value on self-care. Yoga is only one connection. Check out these seven yoga poses that can help your mind and body when you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or overall stress.

shanila sattar header
 
8. Mindfulness Tips to Stay Intentional, Focused, and Aligned in 2021

We’re all guilty of our routines and habits running our lives at one point or another. We’re all guilty of being attached to our schedules and our to-do list. We’re all guilty of running on a loop every now and then. As the energies of 2021 continue to shift, we get to ask ourselves the intentions of why and how we are participating in the places we are participating in, the thoughts we are thinking, the habits we are cultivating, and the communities that we are a part of. This intention and mindfulness process can not only shift our own experiences but of those around us as well.

shanila sattar header
9. Why It's Time to Try a Healing Virtual Sound Bath

If you have found meditation to be useful in trying times, right now is an incredible time to also try virtual sound baths to receive the deep sound healing benefits. As many of us are processing a variety of emotions as a collective—stress, worry, fear, anxiety, uncertainty—we can start to cause long-term damage to our bodies, especially to our immune and nervous systems. Giving ourselves self-care in a way that is easy, non-intrusive, and simple, can be the perfect way to help your body restore.

These resources aren’t the only thing we have to help you deal with stress—they’re just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are tons of classes available to you on the Mindbody app and through Mindbody Flex to help you reignite your calm whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. And always remember, at the end of the day, your best is always good enough.  

denise prichard
Written by
Denise Prichard
Marketing Content Specialist
About the author
Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups.