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How to Build an Athletic Body

By Jen Weir

Athletes have it going on -- talent, awesome job and you can't forget that toned and chiseled physique. Unlike the majority of the population, athletes get paid to work out, whereas everyone else has to try and fit exercise into an already packed schedule. The easiest way to build an athletic body is to be an athlete, but if that's not you, there are a few other tactics you can employ to build an athletic body.

Jump on the HIIT -- high-intensity interval training -- bandwagon to improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness and torch calories to help burn visceral and subcutaneous fat. Nearly every sport, other than endurance events, rely on quick bursts of intense activity followed by a recovery period -- think football, soccer and basketball. Begin with a five to 10-minute warm-up then start your workout, which should alternate between a high-intensity work period and a recovery period. For example, this could include 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 60 seconds of jogging. Repeat the cycle for the duration of your workout, ideally 20 to 30 minutes. Perform HIIT at least three times per week.

Lift weights like an athlete. Rather than wasting time on biceps curls and leg extensions, athletes utilize explosive full-body movements. Deadlifts, thrusters, clean and jerks, snatches and all variations of squats can effectively target and strengthen nearly every muscle in your body. Strength train three to four days a week with at least one day of rest between sessions. Perform two to four sets of each exercise. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends using 85 percent of your one-repetition max for six reps or less to improve strength or six to 12 reps to build muscle.

Treat your body like a temple. Athletes make a living based on performance, which can be hindered without a healthy diet to fuel the body. Your body works the same way -- if you fill it with processed and high-fat foods, your performance and results will falter. Instead, opt for fresh, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy, eggs and lean sources of protein. Avoid smoking and limit your alcohol intake. Ensure you drink plenty of water, especially during and after your workouts.

Tips

Seek the help of a trained professional to learn proper form and technique of strength-training exercises if you are unfamiliar with them.

Warnings

Consult your health care provider before beginning an intense exercise program.

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