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Train Like a Pro: Workout Tips from Toni Pressley

April 20, 2019

Ever wonder what a professional athlete’s workout looks like? Whether you want to pump up your own fitness or are just curious, it’s often very helpful to get a peek at how professional athletes stay in condition.

While activity is important for everyone, structured exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and agility. In soccer, exercising to develop speed, agility and endurance is key.

My Typical WorkoutOrlando Pride player Toni Pressley doing soccer exercises on the field

I usually do two different types of workouts  strength-based gym training and on-the-field technical soccer training.

For the gym training, I focus on what I need to maintain a slimmer physique. Personally, this works best for me because my body feels much better on the field when I am not carrying a lot of weight. 

When I work my legs, I keep it simple, with squats, lunges and single leg Romanian Deadlifts. Sticking to these types of exercises works best for me while focusing on strength.

I also do a great deal of core training, with planks and dead bugs. For my arms, I focus on pushups because that is an exercise I’d like to be able to do better.

Determining the Workout Routine

When you’re planning a workout schedule, it’s important to find a balance between your body’s needs and your goals, so you can improve, while also preventing injury.

For me, when I am not in-season I try to get at least two very intense soccer or running workouts in each week. If I am training Monday through Saturday, I usually will make Tuesday and Saturday my hardest days.

If I’m doing a soccer session, the longest it will be is 90 minutes. For on-the- field training, I do a lot of technical work. This can be anything from dribbling through cones or using different skills and surfaces of my feet. I also work on drills that are specific for my position, which includes passing drills into small goals, footwork drills, heading or clearing crossing in the box. 

If I’m running, I’ll limit it to 50 minutes or so, depending on the intensity of the workout.  

Regardless of what training I have planned, I also listen to my body, so even though I have a workout schedule already made in advance, if my body is feeling tired, I will train less in a session or take another day off when needed.

Keeping Strong Before and After a Workout

Eating appropriately for the workout is important to ensure you have efficient energy to feel good while exercising.  I am vegan, so before I have a strenuous workout, I eat a meal of high carbohydrate foods, such as oatmeal, whole grains, pasta, legumes or sweet potatoes.

Helping your body recover as fast as possible after a workout is crucial to ensuring optimum energy for the next training. I always have a protein shake right after my trainings and I also try to get treatment (massage, cold tub or an electrical muscle stimulation machine), get off my feet and just relax. 

Staying Motivated to Work Out

Staying motivated to work out can be difficult for anyone, and professional athletes are no exception. But I find that setting small goals is very helpful. Maybe you have a weight goal you’re trying to reach each month or a fitness goal of becoming faster or running a longer distance within a certain time. It all depends on what area you’d like to improve. Be sure to make those goals realistic and attainable. 

Also remember that it’s okay to fail occasionally in your workout plan. It’s normal to have some bad days. That is all a part of the process of getting better. In the end, it’s how we overcome or respond to those bad days that matters most.

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