Go for the Gold! Train Like an Olympian

This weekend, the Summer 2016 Olympics will kick off and we will see the world’s finest athletes compete for a gold medal. Many of these athletes have incredible conditioning and workout routines to prepare them for competition. Leading up to competition, they focus on diet and exercise. Ever wonder what some of their secrets are? If you are looking to change up your workout regimen, you can sneak in some of these tips. Remember to always consult with your doctor when you want to incorporate new exercises into your routine.

Successful athletes all do the same thing: they set a goal and stick with it. This is the most important part of training like an Olympian. You can do this, too! Is your goal a distance? A weight? A blood pressure level? A reduction in pain? Once you determine your goal, you can establish the building blocks of your exercise and diet plan. Break down the process of reaching your goal into smaller goals that can mark progress along the way. This can often help make an unreachable goal seem much more attainable.

In most sports at the Olympic level, many athletes put their effort into developing lean muscle mass rather than only losing fat. One secret that many athletes use is following a steady-state cardiovascular workout. These often take the place of strength training and high intensity-interval training (HIIT) because these workouts can often exhaust you, making recovery time between workouts longer. While it is important to rest between workouts to prevent strain, fatigue and injury, when you are working out towards a goal, you’ll want all the time you can get working out instead of resting. You’ll recover faster following a steady-state cardio workout than one that focuses on strength and HIIT. Steady-state cardio can also help you to maintain muscle mass, burn calories and build your aerobic fitness. Often the types of maneuvers can mimic the benefits of weight training without the stress.

You might think training is the most important part of being a successful athlete, but don’t forget about a healthy diet. The first thing any Olympic athlete will tell you is that hydration is key to their success. Each athlete will formulate a healthy diet designed for their goals and the types of training they are doing. The food you eat should fuel your body and contain a good balance of nutrients to support those workouts. Eat for your workout. Athletes will focus on filling their diet with healthy, lean proteins like almonds or chicken. If energy is needed, you can incorporate healthier carbs like a sweet potato or chickpeas. Antioxidants in leafy, green veggies can help with recovery, too. Most healthy athletes will avoid fatty, high calorie foods that offer low nutritional value like fried foods, white carbohydrates, foods high in sugar, and large portions.

Finally, the best thing you can do to train like an Olympic athlete is to stay motivated. A fitness plan should really come down to one simple question: are you going to stick with it? Make sure you create a plan that you enjoy and that brings you joy. If you don’t love your workouts, you should at least respect them. To keep you on track, try to find a buddy that will work out with you and keep you motivated on those days when you just don’t feel like it. Write down your goals and keep a positive diary of your amazing progress. Stay optimistic about your goals and your workouts and you will soon see the benefits.