Tips for training like a world-class athlete.
With the 2016 Rio Olympics rapped up and of course, action-packed, millions marvelled at all the athletes' bodies. Muscled legs, backs, abs, and arms - sure signs of the Olympic body, carefully sculpted for power, speed, and endurance. Olympic competitors are the pinnacle of athletic perfection- but what does it take to get that Olympic body? Of course, few people have the kind of time that Olympic athletes devote to their training, But if you're ready to shape up, here are some tips from the pros to get you started:
1. Diet and Hydration
Diet should be the first focus for anyone hoping to improve physical well-being. Nutrition is key in anybody's life, whether we're professional athletes or working at a desk. For Olympic-level performance and off-the-chart energy, you must eat properly including eating a breakfast of complex carbohydrates and lean protein, then eat again every 3-4 hours and within 90 minutes of working out. Consume half your bodyweight in fluid ounces of pure water and if exercising intensely or for long duration, consume a sports-drink to replenish electrolytes.
2. Sleep is absolutely essential
High-level athletes that are training hard need 8-10 hours sleep. Focus on quality of sleep by going to bed before 11 p.m. for optimal hormonal release don’t use a computer or watch TV within 30 minutes of sleeping to avoid affects of electromagnetic waves and make your sleeping environment as dark as possible.
3. Proper warm-up and recovery
After 10 minutes of a light jog or jump rope session, spend 10-15 minutes on dynamic warm-ups such as skipping or reverse lunges to (improve flexibility, coordination, rhythm and naturally prevent injuries from occurring). After your workout, incorporate recovery techniques like foam rolling, massage and stretching/flexibility exercises to ensure the body remains limber and reduce pain or soreness.
4. Mental Preparation
Olympic athletes spend a great deal of time psychologically preparing for the big day. Some ways to do this include: rehearse, read inspirational books and quotes, rehearse mantras and most importantly they have a plan that contributes to their success. No matter what the fitness goal is, these techniques can help get you there.
5. Hire a coach
Great athletes have coaches. In addition to an individually tailored program, personal trainers provide accountability. People are hesitant at the beginning to spend the money with a personal trainer, but after a month, when they're tightening their waistband and their shorts are loose, they really see the results
6. Use an assortment of dynamic exercises
Instead of only using fixed-pieces of equipment, try medicine balls or Swiss Balls and integrate diagonal and rotational actions as well as unilateral exercises. Run. Jump. Throw.
7. Lift heavy
In order to be great, you must challenge yourself to attain maximum strength gains. Attempt 2-3 sets of a “big” lift of 4-6 reps once a week. In addition to getting strong, lifting heavy will maximize hormonal response.
8. Pull Up Power
Pull Ups work your large back muscles to help with running speed, improved posture and increased metabolism because the back is made up of large muscles. There are several methods to improve or build up to a correct Pull Up including using a Super Band, having a partner assist you and using a rowing machine.
9. Train early in the day
Olympic athletes do it. So can you. You are much less likely to get distractions early in the morning that will prevent you from your workout and you will feel great all day.
10. Train with a partner or in a group
Olympic athletes are known to train together for years before they turn to competing against each other on the big day. Accountability is a big part of success and when you train with a friend, spouse, or even in a small-group fitness class, your adherence to exercise goes up. Not to mention it helps pick up the intensity on those days where you feel you have less than your best.
11. Determine your goals.
You're bound to be better at some kinds of physical events than others, so choose one or two that feel natural and that you enjoy. You'll be much more likely to stick with it -- and see success. Do you want to slim down? Focus on nutrition and a routine of steady cardiovascular endurance exercise, with short bursts of speed called interval training. Do you want to build up your cardiovascular endurance? Try swimming, running, or cycling. If it's speed you're after, try adding sprints to your routine. And if you only have a short time to work out, try circuit training, which consists of a series of resistance training exercises performed one after the other, with minimal rest.
12. Watch the mirror, not the scale.
Even if your goal is weight loss, the healthiest of regimens focus on decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass, not a particular number on the scale. If your clothes fit great and you like the way you look in the mirror, does it matter what the scale says? It's like age. You could be 45 but feel 30. Age and weight are just numbers that we get obsessed with, but they don't mean we're healthy. Instead of weighing have someone measure you every two weeks and check your body fat once a month, this will provide a yardstick for how much fat you're actually losing.
Above all, say the experts, enjoy the journey. And don't forget to indulge. After all, even Olympic athletes enjoy cheat meals.