How to Train Like an Athlete: Tips for Exercise, Diet, and Mindset

Learn how mindset and eating for sports performance can improve your athletic training.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." -- Mahatma Gandhi.

Many think that sports performance can be attributed to raw athletic ability. But it’s actually about making consistent progress in the right areas over time

So, what are the right areas to focus on?

Training like an athlete is about more than working out. A well-rounded training regimen includes mindset and healthy lifestyle habits too. 

Consistently incorporating these critical aspects into your routine can enhance your sports performance on and off the field. Plus, they can actually improve your mood and energy. 

Let’s explore how to train like an athlete without spending a fortune on coaches and trainers. Whether you’re trying to stay in shape for your pickup games or looking to improve your health.

Cultivate an Athletic Mindset

You're on the back 9 of an 18-hole course with your friends. You’ve been looking forward to this game all week, but now you're down by 6 strokes. 

You start blaming yourself for a looming loss: "Of course I'm losing, I've been out of the game for years."  You question why you even tried to put yourself back in the game.

You're focused on all the reasons you can't win, instead of channeling that energy into a comeback.

This demonstrates exactly how your mindset can work against you as an athlete. In sports, you're faced with tons of losses – and if you blame yourself for them, it only holds you and your team back

The athletic mindset is so crucial to successfully train like an athlete. The right mindset enables you to perform at a high level on a consistent basis.

The most successful athletes focus on cultivating growth, calm, and confident mindsets.

  • Growth Mindset – If you start training like an athlete today, you can’t expect to see results tomorrow. Strong performers set big goals but focus on making small, consistent progress daily. If you challenge yourself every day, the results will come over time.
  • Calm Mindset – Athletic performance can be stressful. You're passionate about your team winning and your individual performance. But if you get swept up in these emotions it can affect how well you play. Developing a calm mindset helps you keep your confidence under pressure. Some call it a state of flow, focusing on the present moment and channeling all attention to the immediate moment. Try how clearing your mind helps you balance in yoga poses.3
  • Confidence Mindset – Self-doubt and self-limiting beliefs hold you back from achieving your full potential. Developing a foundation of confidence helps you be an unshakable athlete. Plus, it helps you react to failure as a learning experience for growth – rather than a stumbling block that holds you back. 

In some ways, training as an athlete starts outside of your home gym. 

Your mindset and beliefs off the field influence your performance on the field. Negative thoughts can be detrimental to how you play. But a positive mindset can be even more influential on your performance. 

Work on your mindset to unlock limitless athletic potential. You'll be able to get in the zone, boost your confidence, and avoid getting caught up on your mistakes.


Lifestyle Habits of Effective Athletes

Taking care of your body is crucial to training like an athlete

You may not think that a few poor eating habits or a “cheat day” here and there actually have an effect on your athletic performance. But fueling your body with the right foods makes an immeasurable impact on your athletic ability. Plus, ensuring that you get proper rest is a key aspect of succeeding on the field.

  • Eating for Sport Performance

Foods that fuel your strength, energy, and mindset are crucial for success. Pay attention to what makes you feel energized and happy and eat more of that! Some energy-packed foods include whole-grain crackers, hard-boiled eggs, vegetable or bean soups.4

And avoid foods that make you bloated or cause inflammation. Like processed foods, foods high in sugar, and refined carbohydrates.

  • Sleep Schedule for Athletes
    Okay, you’ve heard this one before. But sleeping 7-8 hours really is key to your muscle recovery, energy, and even improving your mood as an athlete.2

So if you’re trying to get your athletic mojo back then turn off your phone an hour before bed, do a short meditation, or try journaling. All of these things will get your mind and body ready to log some powerful zzz’s and you’ll notice an energy boost the next morning.

To see real athletic improvement you have to implement healthy strategies into your daily life. Having a well-rounded regime will set you up for success on and off the field. 

Then couple the right nutrition and sleep habits with your training and you'll watch your energy, mood, and performance improve.

How to Train Like an Athlete

If you’ve been out of the game for a while, you need a fitness plan that’s personalized to your exact needs. So everyone’s plan will look a little different – but these are three tips that can apply to anyone. 

To get the most out of your training, remember to:

  • Work with instructors who meet you at your level.
    Not all of us are athletes that have access to the best trainers and doctors in the world! To train like an athlete on your own, use a fitness platform like bande that gives you live feedback and meets you at your strength level.
  • Mix in flexibility with strength training and cardio.
    You may be tempted to only focus on building muscle strength and cardio. But incorporating flexibility exercises is key to improving your muscle mobility. Plus, it reduces the chance of injury and strain. Participating in a variety of workouts helps you perform better across the board.
  • Prioritize rest and recovery.
    Recovery is the most important part of any training or exercise program. Recovery improves athletic performance, gives your body time to heal, and preps you for your next training. All these benefits allow you to reach your training goals.1

To train like an athlete you have to be ready to challenge yourself. But it's also important to recognize the level you're at and prioritize recovery. Trying to push yourself beyond your level too fast can lead to injuries and disrupt your progress. 

So, if you have an ambitious goal in mind, remember to cultivate a growth mindset. Focus on consistency and building momentum over time – instead of trying too much at once.


Athletic Training With bande

Now you know how to train like an athlete. Where do you start? 

Navigating training without a coach can be confusing. But you don’t want to spend a fortune on a trainer or an expensive program…  

With bande, you get personalized feedback from an experienced instructor in a group setting

Our platform and instructors make it an effective place to train, by providing:

  • Instructor personalization: you get live feedback and advice to help you meet your goals in real time.
  • Like-minded community: work out with members that focus on well-rounded wellness.
  • Wellness resources: find the information you need to cultivate healthy lifestyle habits.

At bande, we push you to the next level – because we know that athletic performance starts off the field.

If you have not joined us already, for a well-rounded experience of mindset, healthy lifestyle habits, and training start a bande 7-day free trial today. 


  1. Absolute Health Performance: Why is recovery the most important part of your exercise
  2. Pubmed: Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number
  3. Simple Psychology: 3 essential mindsets for athletic success
  4. Uwhealth: Eating for peak athletic performance

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