Go on, admit it, you have fantasized at least once about what it’s like to be an Olympic athlete. We idolize and admire Olympic athletes from afar, simply wishing we could find the secret to their athletic prowess and success.
We usually comfort ourselves by saying, oh, they're the lucky ones with the right genetics, cut abs, and talent, and usually forget that even with all the right genetics, fabulous abs, and talent, it takes an incredible amount of daily practice, determination, and sweat to get into world-class Olympic shape.
To help us get into our personal best Olympic shape, I spoke to American track and field Olympic champion and current world champion Christian Taylor.
Taylor won gold in the men’s triple jump in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. He’s more than a lean, mean workout machine: The 26-year-old Atlanta native has the heart of a winner and soul of a champion.
Without a doubt, each Olympian has his or her tricks and tips that differ, due to body type, fitness levels, and sport, but Taylor has some pragmatic advice we would all be wise to follow.
Here, Taylor shares his top tips for making a body transformation and training like an Olympian and sticking with it, even when the going gets tough.
1. Set Goals.
Sit down with a pen and paper and write out tangible goals even before you start training. Many people with the best of intentions, me included, start something without a concrete plan or target. Consequently, we can never measure our progress (or lack there of) without one.
2. Sleep your way to success.
It sounds counterintuitive, but sleeping a third of our lives is one of the best things we can do for our overall health and fitness. Getting consistent sleep during training is just the essential first step. If you’re have trouble sleeping, you may want to follow in Taylor’s footsteps and get help with a Philip Stein Sleep Bracelet. Sleep bracelet technology works by tapping into your body's natural frequencies and increasing melatonin (the hormone that controls sleep cycles).
3. Eat your way to success.
Taylor says, “I get up two to three hours before my morning training session to prepare and eat my breakfast. I want my food to properly digest; otherwise, I’ll lose my breakfast.” Taylor is big on fish, salads, fruit, but breakfast is good, old-fashioned eggs, ham, avocado, and coffee.
4. Train consistently.
Though Taylor typically does two training sessions, on the track and 60-90 minutes of weight training daily, he suggests something more moderate for us mere mortals. His suggestion to his parents and everyone else is to do something at least every other day for a minimum of one hour. “Talk about longevity, when I was in Holland and Japan, the older communities there were unbelievable! So, get the heart working, stay active, keep moving,” he says.
5. Listen to your body.
You want to train hard and smart, but you also want to be sure to listen to your body. It’s just as important to know when you should take it easy some days or take a break completely.
6. Always think positive.
It’s no surprise that a big dose of positive thinking should be a part of your master fitness plan. As any Olympian will tell you, winning begins in the mind, and positive thinking is key to reaching your optimal fitness and performance goals. So, keep it positive and keep it moving!
Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesdays monthly.