Our editors carefully select every product we recommend. We may earn a commission from these links. Learn more

How To Maximize & Maintain Elite Athletic Performance

Presented by

For most people, wellness is as simple as eating right the majority of the time and keeping up some sort of regular exercise regimen — enough to stay healthy in their habits without it becoming an all-consuming obsession. However, for those who truly want to take their performance to the next level, maintenance in itself isn’t enough — they need something that guarantees results. One approach that’s gained traction in recent years is biohacking — or the act of using science and technology in order to optimize the body’s biology. At first glance, it might sound like a passing fad or a trendy buzzword, but biohacking is as real as it gets. That’s because it relies on making incremental, measurable improvements in both lifestyle and environment, encompassing everything from nutrition to sleep to mind, heart, and gut health.

But in order to biohack both safely and effectively, it’s important that you get a complete picture of what exactly it is that your body needs. At the very least, you should familiarize yourself with the effect that fitness and food can have on your daily life as well as your athletic performance. Because let’s face it — without a solid understanding of how your body works, you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure down the road. And that’s not all — you should also be able to recognize wellness misinformation for what it is and avoid it whenever possible. As convincing as that Instagram influencer may seem, chances are good that there’s a lot more than meets the eye. So save yourself the frustration of subscribing to false expectations and take the first step in making your fitness your own. Lucky for you, we have just the guide to get you started, along with a recommendation for our favorite biohacking technology: InsideTracker.

Why Fitness Is Important

Exercising Your Engine

Regardless of your age, body type, or gender, consistent physical activity is critical to maintaining your long-term health. Whether you’re a casual gym-goer or a dedicated endurance athlete, there are numerous benefits ripe for the picking. For instance, fitness can help you in the following ways:

Life Expectancy: Even moderate exercise has been shown to improve your life expectancy by decreasing your overall risk of premature mortality and chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Granted, an hour of physical activity doesn’t necessarily result in an hour added to your life, but you’ll be far better off than someone who was sedentary during the same amount of time.

Injury Risk: Keeping up with your fitness also prepares you against injury by bolstering bone density, promoting muscle growth, and increasing flexibility. In your daily life, this means that you’ll be far more capable of performing tough physical labor. And when it comes to athletic pursuits, you’ll be able to train harder, longer, and with more intensity.

Quality Of Life: And to that effect, regular exercise can even give you a better quality of life. That’s because, in addition to improving your physical and mental health, it enables you to do things an inactive person would otherwise be unable to do. For instance, if you’re a strength athlete, the added ability to lift, push, and carry heavy objects is obvious. And while it might seem like those miles will only go towards bettering your marathon time, they’ll also help you by improving your cardiovascular efficiency.

Goal Setting: Above all else, fitness is important because it gives you a goal. It doesn’t have to be something as significant as a 4-plate deadlift or a one hundred-mile bike ride; on the contrary — even a small milestone is enough to show progress. In a time in which our plans are few and our future is uncertain, exercise can act as a means to ground yourself in the present.

Why Food Is Important

The Fuel That Makes You Go

That being said, physical fitness alone isn’t enough; you also have to nourish your body with a balanced diet. In addition to affecting your body composition it can also improve the following:

Energy Availability: If you’ve ever tried performing a hard interval run or a heavy strength session on an empty stomach, then you’ll know the importance of proper nutrition. Simply put, without putting enough quality food in, you’ll only suffer the consequences with regard to your available energy.

Sleep & Mood: Without enough of (or the right kind of) food, the quality of your sleep and mood will eventually decline. Sure, you might think that you can burn the candle at both ends, but — at some point — you’ll find that something has to give. On the best of days, this might mean a slightly slower mile time; on the worst of days, it’ll result in a performance-inhibiting injury.

Bone & Muscle Health: Along with exercise, your overall bone and muscle health is also determined by the food you eat. Getting the right mix of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is largely dependent upon your particular activity. For instance, strength specialists will require significantly more protein in order to build their muscles effectively. Endurance athletes, on the other hand, need a good deal more fats and carbs to ensure that they have sufficient fuel to make it through their training.

Recovery Potential: However, ultimately, you’ll notice the most difference in your recovery potential. Because although stretching, foam rolling, and percussion massaging will all go a long way towards keeping you fresh from workout to workout, you’ll never be able out-train a bad diet.

How Activity & Diet Determine Your Overall Wellness

Gut Check

Proper diet and exercise play a huge role in keeping your gut regular and functioning properly, and a healthy gut is essential to your overall wellness. For starters, it contains more than 80% of the body’s immune system, meaning that it ultimately determines your resistance to infection. What’s more your gut also affects your ability to digest and absorb the nutrients from your food. But, most of all, staying on top of your gut health will improve your mental well-being, because of something known as the gut-brain axis. In short, it’s essentially the relationship between your gastrointestinal tract and your nervous system, and the more successful you are in reducing stress, the better your mood and athletic performance will be.

How To Avoid Wellness Misinformation

Weeding Out The Noise

Given the shift from in-person coaching to online instruction, there’s been an overwhelming influx of misinformation throughout the fitness industry. As such, there can be times when it’s tough to tell actual advice apart from social media pseudoscience. However, if you want to be sure that you’re getting your information from the right place, it’s usually a good idea to keep the following rules of thumb in mind.

1. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness. Your body is your own, and you’ll have different needs (both physical and nutritional) that you have to fulfill in order to reach your goals.

2. Wellness requires consistent dedication over an extended period of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and those abs won’t be in a week.

3. Anything that seems too good to be true probably is. Social media can be a lot like a magic show — despite a convincing illusion, there’s always a logical explanation behind the trick.

4. Quick-fixes and fads don’t amount to long-term results. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that you can cheat your way towards wellness. You might see some intermittent progress in the short-term, but it’s not here to stay.

5. Always fact-check your source to make sure that their advice is legitimate. There are internet “experts” abounds these days, but there’s no substitution for a degree.

Building A Bulletproof Biohack

InsideTracker In Application

Between macro ratios, calorie counts, and meal timing (amongst a long list of other variables), dialing in your particular diet can be a pretty overwhelming process, and it’s only made worse when you consider the amount of conflicting information available. While one weight loss plan may have you cutting out carbs altogether, it’s just as likely that another will tell you that it’s actually fats that are the problem. Before you know it, you’ll be going in circles trying how you can possibly make one and one add up to three. Suffice to say — it’s enough to make even the most dedicated of athletes throw in the towel.

However, the good news is that with InsideTracker, you don’t have to go it alone. Rather, since it was founded by a group of leading scientists from MIT, Tufts, and Harvard, you’ll have a wealth of expert knowledge at your fingertips. And the best part is — it’s catered completely to you and you alone. That’s because InsideTracker measures data from your blood, DNA, and lifestyle in order to give you an in-depth read on your nutritional and physical needs. No guesswork, no variation, just pure, unadulterated data.

InsideTracker also works for everyone, no matter if you’re an experienced biohacker, a top-level performance athlete, or even just someone who wants to take a more targeted approach to their diet. With its objective data analysis and customized workout plans, it not only shows you the areas in which you need to make up some ground; it also tells you the best course of action for implementing a change. If you want to get a start, head over to the link below — you’ll get 25% off for being a HiConsumption reader.

Purchase: $49+

The 25 Best Home Gym Equipment Essentials

Having armed you with the knowledge to elevate your athletic performance, it’s now time for you to put theory into practice. If you’re looking for some gear to get your sweat on, head on over to our guide to the best home gym equipment essentials.