Very few of us have the time (or discipline) to train year after year like the Olympic athletes do, but when it comes to their bodies, we would all love to have access to the secrets and training tips that sculpt these elite athletes into the phenomenal machines they are.
The experts at WebMD recently came up with a list of ten things we all can do to get our bodies (kinda) looking like our favorite Olympians. Here is a look at a few of their suggestions that caught my eye:
1. Know what your body is best suited for: So you’ve already signed up for a gymnastic class at your local gym but you’re 5′ 7″. Not to dash your hopes at a gold medal, but most gymnasts are under 5 feet (Shawn Johnson is a petite 4’8″). They pack a lot of power and speed in those compact bodies. The take-home message with this suggestion is to work with your body type, not against it. If you love to be active and want to invest some energy into excelling at an activity but don’t know what you’re suited for, seek the counsel a trained exercise physiologist. He or she will be able to take a logical look at your body composition and your muscle fibers to determine what kind of sport you are best suited for.
2. The Power of Protein: Much attention has been placed on what the Olympic athletes eat to maintain their endurance and keep them healthy. Every piece of dietary advice from the athletes themselves, their personal nutritionists or their trainers include the “p” word: Protein. The key to developing muscle and keeping your energy levels sustained throughout the day, whether you’re swimming four hours or sitting at your desk for four hours, is to include a lean protein source in each meal or snack you eat.
For most of us, you can find out how many grams of protein you need by dividing your body weight in pounds by 2.2. This will give you your weight in kilograms. Next, multiply this number by 1.5 to get the average number of protein grams you should consume each day. Many of the Olympic athletes are eating 3 to 5 times the amount of average protein intakes for their weight and size because of their training and physical needs, they require more.
Have fun as you apply some of the tips and inspiration of these Olympic athletes into your own life. Make realistic goals for yourself and even though we may never sport abs like Michael Phelps or Dara Torres, we can at least have a great time trying to achieve our own fitness goals.
August 21st, 2008