How To Train Like An Olympian

Posted Aug 29, 2012 | Posted in Fitness & Nutrition

OlympicsThe curtain has closed on this year’s Olympics. Some athletes left London with medals; others left with disappointment and the drive to do better in 2016.

For viewers, the greatest sporting spectacle likely served as inspiration to do more, eat better and get in shape. Olympians aren’t made overnight, and fitness takes dedication. Are you up to the challenge? It takes three steps to train like an Olympian and fight for better health:

The right workout
There are no token Olympians. Athletes earn their spots with rigorous training and years of unwavering discipline. Whether you’re aiming for added endurance, weight loss or strength training, here are a few workout options to consider for a true fitness challenge:

  • Interval training (and its more challenging cousin, High Intensity Interval Training)
    • A favorite among many fitness coaches, interval training is a series of workouts with brief rest periods woven between. This helps build cardiovascular health and lean muscle. Examples include sprinting, swimming laps at varying speeds and jumping rope.
  • Long-distance running
    • Simple on the surface, long-distance runners are masters at endurance. To give you an example, Stephen Kiprotich, a 23-year-old marathon runner from Uganda, captured this year’s gold medal in London. He ran the 26.2 miles in roughly 2 hours, 8 minutes. Dedicated training is necessary to reach competitive levels.
  • Riding a bike
    • Perhaps one of the lowest entry points to fitness is riding a bicycle. It’s easy, fun and efficient. With the right course, you’ll also find it extremely challenging.

The right nutrition
A key to getting (and staying) in shape is putting the right fuel in your tank.

A few suggestions on what to eat:

  • Eggs – One egg has just 75 calories, but adds 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, iron and important vitamins.
  • Sweet potatoes – They’re low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. These potatoes are also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium, and a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.
  • Salmon – Nothing fishy here. Salmon is high in protein and provides a wealth of vitamin D, half the daily requirement of B12, niacin and is also a great source of vitamin B6.

…and what to drink:

  • Water – The majority of your body is made of water, and staying hydrated is crucial to staying healthy. If you don’t drink enough water, you could become tired, irritable and suffer from muscle cramps.
  • Green tea – This drink can reduce the risk of sickness and cancer. It may also lower cholesterol! It’s not necessary for training, but can be a cornerstone for good health.

The right rest and recovery
Muscles have limits. Don’t overtrain or you could risk injury. It’s important to remember the following when finishing up a workout:

  • Stay hydrated – Muscles need water to function and grow. Drinking water can prevent muscle cramps and it helps muscles relax.
  • Rest – It’s suggested that six to eight hours of rest each day is needed for optimum health and recovery. This is necessary to help restore fluids/electrolytes and reduce muscle stress.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to better health. Carry the torch and get your friends involved for added motivation!

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