Train Like an Athlete for a Successful 2019

Jay Gershman |

Professional athletes may train long and hard for a moment of glory, but for the rest of us, every day is a 12-hour marathon. Are you running at peak capacity?

Jim Loehr, Ed.D, of LGE Performance Systems, of Orlando, Fla., runs a toughening center that trains top athletes, executives, rescue squads, and even anti-terrorist groups. He has written extensively about the physical and mental conditioning of top performers and he asks the question, “Who do you think has the tougher job? A business professional or a professional athlete?”

Jim believes that the rest of us have a tougher job than athletes. The athlete seldom practices more than three hours a day, while we have to be “on” for eight to twelve hours a day. “What does the athlete do if he fails at his job?” Loehr asks. “He retires and does your job! If you fail, can you become a professional athlete as a fallback?”

If you’re not running at peak performance in your daily marathon, Loehr suggests establishing a series of small success rituals to help you build the stamina and energy you need. Here are five of our favorites:

Have five small meals a day rather than three large ones to keep your energy up and to give yourself more frequent opportunities to reflect on your day.

Take a break every 90 minutes or so. Step outside, have a piece of fruit or drink a glass of water.

Exercise to benefit your cardiovascular system and to relieve stress.

Get enough sleep. As Vince Lombardi, George Patton, Abraham Lincoln, or someone said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Establish rituals. In every single area of high stress, the more demanding the performance, the more people rely on rituals to do the job. Surgeons have pre-operative routines, athletes have visualization, and pilots have preflight rituals. “World-class rituals produce world-class results.”

What rituals or habits could you incorporate into your business day? Successful people suggest these:

Read your goals in the morning.

Review your business plan every day.

Review your “potential business” list every day.

Listen to motivational tapes or read an inspirational book in the morning. It inoculates you against the garbage that may come later.

Smile while the phone is ringing. Believe it or not, your voice will sound different when you answer.

Make tomorrow’s call list before you go home each day. It’s fresh in your mind, and you’ll get a start on the next day.

Long before Jim, Aristotle put it well:

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.