*Article reposted from August 2012
Another Olympic Games has started, and as I watch the events I cannot help but be left inspired and in awe over these amazing athletes. To watch people who train hours on end 365 days a year, rain or shine, through injuries, setbacks, and defeat all for the chance at a gold metal that can be lost by being a fraction of a second off All I can say is WOW!
Olympics athletes truly show us a glimpse into what the human body is really capable of, and while this degree of dedication isnt necessary for most people, we can still learn from these athletes and apply some of their ways to our workouts and other aspects of our lives.
Do What you Love. A key reason why Olympic athletes are able to get up day after day before the sun rises to train is because they like the sport theyre in. Finding an activity that is enjoyable is key to being able to stick to your training on a long-term basis. Most people automatically think that getting fit means hitting the gym, but if you dread stepping foot into the building chances are youll stop going sooner or later. Take up karate, or a dance class, go hiking or swimming! If you love strength training but rather be outdoors, invest is some equipment like a suspension gym or Ripcords. Do what brings you joy.
Climb your Way Up. It is easy to forget while watching what to us may seem like super-humans that Olympians took years of training to get to the level that they are. Even Olympians have bad days, and no on can be their best all the time. Athletes do not become champions over night, and neither will you. Many Olympians say that a key to their continuing dedication is the day-to-day victories and focusing on their strengths rather than their shortcomings. They are not going through their days trying to be the best, they are just trying to be better then they were the day before.
This is a HUGE key to success. Trying to hit a huge goal and stick to a rigid diet and exercise regime may seem overwhelming. Try taking baby steps and build your way up. If youre just starting out and managed to do a 15-minute workout and skipped dessert enjoy that victory. Dont be mad that you werent able to do the hour workout you planned. 15 minutes is better then the nothing you did last week. Try making it 20 minutes tomorrow, and keeping going.? As long as you keep going, you will reach your goal!
Get a Trainer or Take a Class. Another thing that was a huge realization while watching the Olympics is that these athletes, who are considered the best in the world, still have a coach to guide them. Coaches, trainers or class leaders are a huge help when it comes to setting new goals, motivating you to stick with them and preventing injury along the way by ensuring that you have the right form in your exercises. Its also never a negative thing to have someone cheering you on through all of your accomplishments.
Join a Team. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps credited his teammates, saying he couldnt have done it without them when he won 8 gold metals in 2008. Olympians are rarely going at it alone, and the people cheering them on have an enormous impact on their ability to stick with their goals. So join a sports team or simply get a friend to be your workout buddy. Youll push yourself harder because youll have someone to motivate you and you won’t want to let them down.
Mix it Up.?Even Olympians can get in an exercise rut, and many of them exercise outside of their sports in order to shake things up. USA Olympic team boxer, Jose Ramirez incorporated using The Human Trainer in order to improve his balance and core. Swimmers do resistance stretching, runners swim, soccer players improve footwork and agility with ballet and yoga. Mixing up your workouts will help you have a well-balanced muscle structure and help to prevent plateaus. Include cardio, strength and resistance exercises, and stretching into your workouts.
Visualize and Stay Positive.?Many Olympians claim that their warm-up before competing is visualizing the game. They imagine and see every victory, possible defeat, and weather patterns ? If they imagine they can get through each obstacle, chances are they will. This is a great tool for workouts and every other aspect of life. If you believe you are capable of getting through things you will.
Stay Strong.?Eating right and getting rest are just as necessary to an Olympian as working out. If athletes don’t fuel their bodies properly, they don’t have the energy and stamina to perform. Make sure to eat a balanced diet of protein and healthy carbs (fruits and vegetables) Stay away from sugar!
Most Olympic coaches require downtime. It is detrimental to staying focused, allowing the body to heal and recover, and preventing burnout. Many Olympians meditate as a way of relaxing. Remember that though Olympians are among some of the fittest in the world many of them cannot put up with the riggers of constant hardcore training forever. Injury and bodily wear-and-tear eventually catch up with them. Unless you are training for a specific event the average person should take a rest day every second or third day.
The inspiration that the Olympics causes usually results in an influx of new signups with trainers and gyms around the world. But dont let that newfound excitement to improve yourself die away until the next Olympics. The key thing to learn from our Olympic heroes is not to give up. Keep striving toward your goal, dont let setbacks stop you, and you cannot fail!
Onemedical.com, Dr. Robert Hopper