Lessons on Fitness from Olympic Athletes
We just experienced the 20th Season of the Olympic Winter
games. It is always fun to watch the athletes challenge themselves
in feats above what the rest of us do. As I watched the skiers
fly down the mountain at an average speed of 65 mph, I especially
appreciated all the training and work they have committed
themselves to in order to get to this point in their lives.
No matter what ranking they each come home in, they have all
accomplished a feat that many of us will only know by watching
them on TV. They have pushed themselves to the point of sometimes
wondering why they are doing it. They push themselves so hard
that at times they feel like just sitting down and crying,
or giving up. But, because they have a unique spirit of competition
-with themselves, with others - they will not settle for quitting
or giving up. Wow.
But what can you learn from these elite athletes to help YOU
achieve greater fitness?
First of all, their level of fitness and expertise did not
happen overnight. They were not all born with great genes.
It has more to do with determination and drive… and consistency.
When they'd rather be sleeping, they're up, working and training.
Think of that the next time you tell yourself you're not going
to get up 15 minutes early to get that quick walk or bike
Just as I tell all my clients, though, it's not as important
how intense the exercise is, especially in the beginning,
it's more important how CONSISTENT it is. Again, getting up
and doing it, or putting the shoes in the car to make it fit
into your life WILL pay off in the end. Doing a hit or miss
workout once or twice a week, maybe getting in 3-4 workouts
a month, is not going to help you achieve any of your fitness
or weight loss goals. It has to be no less than 30 minutes
for no less than 3-5 days a week. Ideally, a full hour per
day is recommended for heart health.
Researchers have found that you can even break this total
amount up into 10 minute blocks! So, you can do a quick 10
minute bike ride before showering in the morning, park your
car further from the office in the morning and walk briskly
into the building, do a 10-15 walk during lunch, and then
another one to wake you up during your afternoon break. Then,
when you get home, get back on your stationary bike to catch
the 30 minute news before eating or cooking dinner. When you
add all that up, you spent 60-75 minutes on exercise that
Now, for people who do already work out, regularly, yes, they
may have to push themselves harder, but by then it's easier.
Once you have achieved a certain level of fitness, dropping
the body fat gets more challenging and requires harder work.
Next, as with anything one wants to achieve in life, you have
to set goals. Olympic athletes definitely do this and often
the gold medal is their goal. But what if your goal is just
to lose weight by summer? All successful people set up goals
to achieve. If setting up a goal seems too overwhelming, drop
your goal down to something easier. Maybe setting a goal for
the first month, such as you will take your shoes to work
and always walk at lunchtime is a 'doable' goal. Once you
have set your goals, though, then you have to create a strategy
to accomplish those goals. The example of 10 minute blocks
is one idea. The question to ask yourself is how will you
make that exercise happen on a regular basis? Plan alternate
strategies for when it rains, if walking is your primary activity,
Also, all levels of athletes have down days, though, so don't
feel you're a failure if there comes a day here and there
that you do NOT want to take that walk. However, remember
to at least get the minimum days and times in, avoiding falling
back into just a few workouts a month. There's a fine line
between listening to your body and just flaking out.
Next, remember that it's important to start out small and
work your way up into bigger things. So, don't decide you're
going to start running tomorrow. Start walking, and, as I
often tell my clients, walk slower than you think you should.
If you have not exercised for years, after you get the approval
of your physician, you should then start out extremely slow
and short. For people who have a great deal of weight to lose,
I will recommend that they start with just 5 minutes a day,
every day, and walk slower than they think they should. From
there, after a couple of weeks, they're ready to increase
to 10 minutes, and so on, until they eventually can walk at
a pretty impressive pace for 30 minutes. It happens gradually.
Especially if you have a great amount of weight to lose, when
people decide they'll start exercising, they quickly find
that what should be an easy stroll quickly becomes a chore
after 5-10 minutes, simply because it's a new activity for
their body, and even 5-10 minutes is more than they are used
to. Olympic athletes did not start out doing jumps and flips.
They had to start out learning the basics and going slow,
working consistently to build up.
These are very simple suggestions, but really are lessons
from Olympic level athletes:
1. They all started out slow and small and gradually worked
up to a higher, more challenging level. So, find something
simple to start with.
2. Every single one of them realized that consistency was
the key; day in and day out, doing the work. This is what
makes the ultimate difference between achieving the goal and
allowing it to fall to the wayside. So, even when you feel
like sleeping in, kick yourself out of bed!
3. Setting up goals is critical. You have to set up a goal
in order to know where you want to ultimately go. Setting
up small, achievable goals, then creating the strategy to
accomplish those goals are keys to success.
4. Finally, although Olympic athletes may push beyond what
they really should when they are injured or not feeling well,
they generally suffer for it in the end. We saw examples of
that in the Olympics this year. Learning to listen to your
body is very important. Overtraining, or trying to push through
an illness or injury just ultimately delays your progress.
You just have to be sure that the message is truly to take
care of yourself and not to allow yourself to peter out and
So, as you consider the Olympics last month, consider how
you can achieve some of your fitness or weight goals. Make
a small list of the goals you'd like to achieve, and then
determine how to make them happen. Then, as Nike used to say,
'just do it!'.
Marjorie Geiser helps people overcome their confusion
and distress they may feel when trying to add healthy eating
and fitness into their busy lives. She offers a free, monthly
newsletter on various topics of health. She is a Registered
Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Life Coach. To learn more
about her services, go to her website at http://www.megfit.com.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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