For the past two weeks, people across the globe have tuned in to watch athletes at the top of their game compete. For these athletes, the Olympics are the reward for a lifetime of dedication, training, and determination. While most of us will never reach the same level of skill and athleticism, we can all try to move like an Olympian for better health and fitness.
Olympic athletes have to be in the best shape and ready to perform during competition. In order to do so, they create a training plan that pushes them to get stronger, quicker, and smarter. Long time blog readers know that planning is always the first step of eating smarter or moving more. Knowing where you’re starting and where you’re going and how to get there is just as important for the everyday exerciser as it is for professional athletes. Check out this post for an example of how to build a workout plan that helps you progress as you get more in shape.
Cross-training and Recovery
You might think that elite athletes train at 100% every day. But that is a recipe for burnout and injury. Instead, they incorporate cross training, recovery days, and a mix of higher and lower intensity training. You can do the same by choosing different activities that work different muscles, such as swimming (more upper body) and soccer (more lower body). You should also mix up high-intensity workouts (such as weight training or HIIT) with lower intensity workouts (yoga or walking). If you’re sore from too much activity, take a day or two for recovery with light stretching and walking. Although you might feel like avoiding any activity when you’re sore, you’ll actually recover faster with light activity.
For the Love of the Game
When you’re doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, or so the saying goes. This actually applies to working out, too! Do you think that Olympic athletes, many of whom do not have celebrity or sponsorships that provide a glamorous lifestyle, would dedicate their lives to a sport they didn’t enjoy? Of course not. To reach that level of competition, and put in the hours upon hours of training, the athletes have to love what they do. And when you find the sport or workout that you enjoy, it will be a fun activity, not a chore. You’ll look forward to your workouts instead of dread them and make finding time to workout a priority in your busy schedule. If you haven’t found that activity yet, keep trying. There’s a workout, exercise, sport or activity out there that you will enjoy, you just have to find it!