Olympic Athlete Training
- Thursday, 19 July 2012
The summer Olympics are right around the corner and excitement is growing to watch the festivities. But, there’s also something else on my mind: how do those gladiator-like athletes transform from normal humans to modern day super heroes?
You don’t have to be super sporty to train like an Olympian. Olympic athletes have disciplined routines, but when it comes down to it they’re mortals, just like me and you. Olympians are successful because they are well rounded in their training, and take the mind-body connection seriously. By having optimum health and strength on the playing field, they create and maintain the best versions of themselves.
By incorporating these tricks of the trade into your daily routine, you can be Olympic-fit in no time.
If you yearn for the opportunity to scream “GOOOOAL” like an Olympic soccer player, make a list of short-term and long-term tasks necessary to achieving your training goal, and cross them off as you go along. Your determination, commitment, and passion to completing your goal will keep you on track and focused while training. The most important part of training is keeping a positive attitude! Being able to see obstacles as blessings and valuable experiences is key to an athlete’s success.
If you hit a roadblock while training, practice meditation by lying on your back and focus on visualizing your upcoming victory. When your mind wanders, bring it back to that same focus. This exercise gives your mind a mini vacation, so it can regroup for the task at hand. Grete Waitz, gold medal winner in marathon at the 1983 summer Olympics suggests spending, “at least some of your training time, and other parts of your day, concentrating on what you are doing in training and visualizing your success.”
The mind is a muscle as powerful as the body. Olympic athletes use their mind and meditation techniques while training and competing. Finally, don’t forget to give yourself a little lovin’ for the steps you took towards your goal—that’s just as medal worthy as reaching the goal itself!
If you’re lagging on your Zs, you’ll lag in the race. Having a consistent sleeping schedule, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and getting nine hours of sleep each night is imperative to keeping any athlete’s motor running. Olympic athletes get to bed early in order to wake up early, allowing a full day’s worth of time to accomplish training goals. We all know how it feels to drag through a day because you didn’t have adequate sleep. Keep yourself in line and charge your body right.
If you’re not running like an Olympic sprinter, you’re probably not fueling like one either. Make sure to eat wholesome, unprocessed foods at every meal. Current guidelines for portion sizing state that half of your plate should be fresh produce, one fourth should be starchy veggies or grains, and the other fourth should consist of lean protein, such as skinless chicken breast, eggs, or tofu.
It can be a challenge to eat healthy, especially if you’re someone who is always on the go. Many athletes prefer to eat five to six smaller meals a day in order to keep their metabolism booming. To maintain your sleek physique—and keep your growling tummy quiet—carry snacks with you. Raw nuts or hardboiled eggs are a great option for athletes who need to focus on strength. Protein will keep you full, while keeping your muscles equipped with the tools to stay toned. If you’re a swimmer or a runner who needs high amounts of energy, focus on consuming carbohydrates such as unprocessed oats or whole-wheat pasta to keep you going for long periods of time. Your new motto: eat clean, train dirty. Once you’ve prepared your body with the adequate fuel, your inner athlete will hardly be able to hold back.
It’s no secret that if you want to be successful at something, you must be consistent. However, Olympic athletes train year round, and the repetitive movements can end up being their downfall if they don’t cross train.
Rebecca Soni, 2012 summer Olympic breaststroke competitor, world record holder, and client at RockIt Body Pilates, keeps her body in tiptop competition shape by incorporating alternate movements into her workout regimen. RockIt Body Pilates owner, Judie Aronson, attests, “RockIt Body Pilates teaches multi-joint compound exercises that challenge Rebecca’s coordination and balance in a different way than her sport. RockIt Body corrects muscle imbalance while training the body with proper postural alignment.” Core strength, which Aronson’s pilates studio emphasizes, is vital because it supports all key movements in the body and protects from injury. Whatever sports you are training for, keep these tips in mind and you’ll move up to first place in no time.
As you watch the Olympics this summer, let these tips inspire you to compete in a new competition: one to better yourself. Making a mental and physical shift for the better is beneficial to all parts of your life. Even if you don’t find yourself competing alongside Rebecca Soni, you’ll have the satisfaction of having completed the feat of getting in your ideal training mode. By the time summer is over, people will be wondering where your medal is. Score!
By Kristina Cooke, RockIt Body Pilates