With the Summer Olympics in Brazil, pictures of athletes with bulging biceps and ripped abs have probably started to flood your newsfeed. It can be really inspiring to hear stories of athletes who have worked for years to make their Olympic dreams a reality - I’m definitely guilty of crying during more than one Nike ad.
But, let’s be honest, it can also be a little disheartening to see athletes, a lot of whom are really (really!) young, accomplishing so much, while you (or I) contemplate whether or not to eat that leftover pizza for breakfast (btw - the answer to leftover pizza is always yes).
So, instead of letting the Olympics get you down - watch a few more Nike videos, play Eye of the Tiger on repeat, and find your Olympic motivation with these workout tips fit for an Olympian.*
Set Specific Goals
Olympic athletes, regardless of their sport, have very targeted training goals. They don’t just say, “I want to swim really fast,” or, “I think I’d like to run a 5-minute mile.” Instead, they break their big goals into lots of smaller goals and look at all the individual pieces that go into achieving the bigger picture. For example, if you want to run a marathon but have never actually run more than a few miles, the thought of running 26 can feel extremely daunting - that’s where smaller, more specific goals come in handy. Smaller, targeted goals are more achievable, help you build endurance, and give you the motivation and sense of accomplishment you need to keep going.
Create A Schedule (and stick to it!)
Olympic athletes set very strict training schedules, with each day’s workout planned well in advance. Creating your own exercise schedule will help you stay focused and keep you accountable. Add your workout routine to your calendar just like you would anything else, and cross it off at the end of each day. Having a workout schedule makes it a lot more likely that you’ll actually work out.
Cross-training is an important part of every Olympic athlete’s routine. Cross-training helps improve muscle performance, reduces injuries, trains muscles you might otherwise miss, and most importantly - keeps you from getting bored. Find a few different types of exercises you like and switch up your routine every few days to keep things interesting and stay in Olympic shape.
Focus On Your Form
Having perfect, or near-perfect form should be one of your main priorities if you’re trying to train like an Olympian. While you might not need perfect form to build a few glamour muscles, to achieve bigger workout goals, it’s all about the form. Proper form helps prevent injuries and also prevents you from slacking off. Have you ever been in the back of a workout class feeling like a champ when the instructor comes over to readjust you? Ever notice how much harder the exact same workout can feel after being corrected? Keep that feeling in mind, because to get the most out of your workout, it’s all about that form!
Don’t Forget About Nutrition!
What you do when not training is just as, if not more, important as the training itself. Active recovery, adequate sleep, and especially proper nutrition are vital components of achieving and maintaining a successful fitness routine. Make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need to stay fueled by way of a well-rounded diet - or at the very least, by taking the appropriate supplements. Take a daily probiotic to keep your gut happy, or have a protein shake when you're tempted to reach for the potato chips in the office (yeah I saw you sneaking)! Sometimes life gets busy and making the best food choices can be a challenge.
Find A Team
Finding an Olympic team of your own, with people who share similar goals, will help keep you motivated on those days when all you want to do is sit on the couch eating leftover pizza. Finding a team with similar athletic goals and interests is a great way to stay motivated, accountable, and on track. It’s also nice to have people to ask questions to, bounce ideas off of, and share war stories about shin splints with - because, let’s be honest, no one else really wants to hear them.
*Following these tips does not guarantee you will become an Olympic athlete - but people might mistake for you one ;)