Blueprint for success: How to train like real Olympians
Cardio loading before the marathon, endurance or strength training, focus on repetition or weights, supplements. There are many myths around training and if you ask ten experts about the ultimate strategies for success, you will likely get ten different answers. And that’s because what works for one athlete won’t necessarily apply to another. Nevertheless, all recreational athletes can learn from the pros. You’re bound to see improvements in your performance even if you only keep some of these Olympian tips in mind.
# 1 Power food for your muscles
Training hard requires a lot of energy. Either you’re happy to resort to Fast Food - or, like track and field stars, you care about a balanced combination of the most important macronutrients. Complex carbohydrates for breakfast combined with protein are ideal, providing the body with energy over a long period. Then, depending on training volume and intensity, it is important to replenish that energy every three to four hours, but not immediately before training.
# 2 Go with the flow
Hydration is just as important for athletes. People who train at an Olympic level must take in at least one third of their body weight in litres of water every day. After exhausting endurance sessions you should also take in nutrients in the form of isotonic drinks. You can do this easily by yourself by mixing water with salt, with fructose as an option. Fruit gives the whole drink flavour.
# 3 Early birds catch the workout worm
If you plan out your exercise in the morning, you’ve a greater probability of actually doing it. Fewer distractions await you, while for those who prefer to train in the evening there are always temptations to skip the sports session, such as bad weather or a last-minute dinner invitation.
# 4 Heat things up
A good workout always starts with a good warm-up. But overdoing it can kill the motivation for the actual session. Around ten minutes of light jogging or skipping followed by five to ten minutes of mobility exercises will do the trick to heat the muscles. This will mean you improve both flexibility and coordination, and also reduce the risk of sports injuries.
# 5 Variety is the spice of life
Runners, triathletes, martial artists and skaters are just as vulnerable to the power of boredom, and this can be caused by one-sided training. Make sure you bring variety to your workout routine. Runners should not only bring variation into their exercises, but also incorporate strength training into the programme. Likewise, if you’re hitting the weights, you should not forget about endurance sessions. If in doubt, ask a fitness instructor who will help you to create a tailored training plan.
# 6 Sufficient time for regeneration
More training = quicker success? The formula doesn’t work like that. Muscles grow in the regeneration phase and that means you should not neglect recovery after exercise under any circumstances. Adequate sleep of eight to ten hours in times of extraordinary training load is important so that the body recovers from the effort. And if you just can’t sit still, you can support the regeneration with slight stretching.
# 7 Mental training for success
Olympians spend four years of their lives working towards achieving their personal best on a decisive day. How best to deal with this pressure varies from athlete to athlete. Positive thinking plays a huge part. Many turn to reciting certain mantras to focus immediately before the big moment of chasing their goals. #ifyoucandreamityoucandoit