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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.
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Fitness
Published Wednesday Jul 28, 2021 by Bree Lewis

Sweat Redemption: 5 Tips for Getting Back Into Your Hot Yoga Practice

Yoga
Fitness
Expert Advice

If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.

To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.

1. Go at your own pace

Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you.  And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!

2. Hydrate like your life depends on it (honestly, it might)

The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!  

3. Nourish your body

Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.

4. Replenish those electrolytes

Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.

5. Bring the right equipment

Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.

So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.

Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you

While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.

bree lewis headshot
Written by
Bree Lewis
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Born and raised in a small mountain town just south of Yosemite National Park, Bree is an avid lover of health, wellness, and connecting to the outside world around us. As a Cal Poly English major alumn, she has a knack for books, writing, and all things words. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, drinking craft beers, and keeping life jazzy!