Monday Morning Scoop: What it takes to be an Olympic athlete

October 10th, 2011

For most, finding the motivation to log in time at the gym is a daily struggle. The priority of making time to exercise seems to creep further toward the bottom of the list with jobs, kids and all of life’s daily stresses.

But, imagine being a professional athlete or Olympian.

Working out and staying fit is your job, and that time from 9-5 spent gazing at a computer now becomes eight hours of work, sweat and complete dedication. That hour on the treadmill doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

“People don’t know the process which athletes undertake in their individual sports to reach the Olympic level. You get there by sticking it out. There are a lot of people that try and give up,” says Jim Ochowicz, men’s professional road racing team Olympic athlete, in the article, “How to Train Like An Olympian” on Forbes.com.

The online article goes on to say that on average, athletes spend four to eight years preparing and training before making an Olympic team. Also, training schedules aren’t planned weekly or monthly, but yearly to ensure they reach specific performance goals.

While less than one percent of us will ever be able to call ourselves Olympic athletes, you can still employ some of their training techniques so you can look and feel like one. The online article, “Go for Gold! Learn to train like an Olympian” reveals some great fitness tips from various professional coaches.

Below are several key training tips from the article:

“Weights are great, but don’t underestimate the power of body-weight exercises. They provide you with a body awareness that you just can’t get with plates or dumbbells, and that translates into more explosive power in the ring and more agility in the real world,” says Larry Nelson, USA Boxing’s 2003 developmental coach of the year.

“Along with flexibility and body control, balance is an essential component of weight lifting. The best way to bolster it is with an overhead squat,” recommends Mike Burgener, father and coach of Casey Burgener—top-ranked US power lifter in Beijing.

“Whether you’re trying to log a faster 10K or just keep up with your bean-thin teen, the key to running more efficiently is to reduce the amount of time your feet spend on the ground. One of the best ways to do this is with hill sprints…” says Brad Hudson, champion marathoner and current coach of Olympic gold medal marathon hopeful Dathan Ritzenhein.

Bottom line, being an Olympic athlete and training like one takes time and dedication. Putting in an hour a day will make you feel better, look better and live a long and healthy life. So, next time you decide to put off the gym because you “just don’t have enough time,” think about those people logging in eight hours a day, every day, of mentally and physically strenuous training, and march yourself straight into that gym!

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