You think of athletes as Olympians in all the categories we know well depending upon the time of year. It is obvious that boxers, runners, skaters, weight lifters, wrestlers, basketball players, gymnasts, swimmers and divers are athletes. But guess what, race car drivers are too. They need to keep fit and healthy to handle the focus needed in their sport; they need to be in top form through diet and exercise. I don’t know many obese drivers, do you?
This is the same as any other athlete, although each type has their routine. Millions of variations later, each sportsman becomes hale and hearty to take on the rigors of their game. So what do racecar drivers do to prepare for the big event? They go to the gym like anyone else. They also jog, use weights, do crunches, and even yoga to concentrate the mind. Some meditate to relax the spirit and boost energy. It is a nice side effect of the deep inner focus you can regularly achieve.
I know of a few drivers who are avid participants in a fitness and exercise program. One in particular told me he doesn’t miss a day. While this might not be necessary for all drivers, some like the mental mindlessness that you experience during strenuous workouts, and if you’re on the road a lot, you might even use a home gym system installed in your drag racing trailer. It is like cleansing it and ridding it of extraneous thoughts. It is solid preparation to be sure for the focus needed to round those curves at lightning speed. Drag racers are a unique breed; but they, too, have their needs. This kind of racing requires quick responses, perhaps honed with sports like boxing. It is all about reaction time. Anything that practices this agility is a good pursuit.
Not all drivers are avid, but many do their workouts with gusto and zeal, the same kind of spirit they put into racing. There is a single mindedness that comes with any athlete, and it carries over it all facets of life at home or work (if the racer is not a pro and has a job). Some are born with this ability, but you can stoke it at the gym.
Concentration exercises come in many forms. It doesn’t have to be circuit training. You can do all kinds of video interactive games, for example, as an exercise in focus and reaction. If you prefer a real physical experience, playing a sport is the epitome of concentration. Think about baseball and those batters facing a pitch. Think about strategy in football and executing a pre-planned play–just at the right moment. Think about the rigors of golf, tennis, and diving. Imagine a diver on the springboard and what he or she is thinking seconds before the plunge.
So I hope you are thoroughly convinced that racecar drivers of all types, drag racers included, are athletes of the highest kind. It isn’t about big muscles and defined abs, but the ability to stay tuned to the present moment and get the most out of it. In racing, this means a win!