In less than three weeks, the 2012 Summer Olympics will be in full swing. Millions will watch as mega-athletes from 200 different countries bring it on in sporting events as diverse as archery, volleyball, fencing, cycling, and weightlifting. An estimated 10,500 will compete in 302 different events. If you’re at all into athletics, get ready to go apeshit.
Needless to say, Olympians are currently training like crazy to be in the best possible shape by July 27. You might not be an Olympian (and if you are, what are you doing surfing the net?), but that doesn’t mean you can’t train like one. American Council on Exercise spokesperson Todd Durkin recently shared some tipsto help us regular guys train like real Olympians. Take his advice and this summer you can actually feel like a champion and not just sit there on the couch eating Doritos while some dude from Papua New Guinea takes the gold.
Eat Healthy, Stay Hydrated and Get Some Rest
Olympians push their bodies to the limit and require tons of energy to do so. Lay off the corn dogs this summer and eat plenty of lean proteins and complex carbs every 3-4 hours. In terms of beverages, stay hydrated with water and sports drinks. When you’re not eating, drinking, or working out, Durkin recommends getting 8-10 hours of sleep.
Start Early, Warm-up, Get Psyched, and Recover
When and how you work out makes a big difference in how successful you’ll be. Durkin suggests you work out as early as possible in the day to ensure you actually have time to exercise. When you go to work out, don’t just jump right into it. Get your body ready by warming up (e.g skipping, reverse lunges.) It also helps to pump yourself up mentally. This can be as simple as reading an inspirational book or repeating some sort of personal mantra (e.g. “May the force be with me.”) When your workout is complete, be sure to recover by stretching and/or using a foam roller.
Lifting, Pull-ups and Dynamic Exercises
Olympians put a little more effort into training than your everyday gym rat. Durkin suggests incorporating some heavy lifting into your routine, including “2-3 sets of a “big” lift of 4-6 reps once a week.” Pull-ups are also essential in improving metabolism, running speed, and posture. Along with heavy weightlifting and pull-ups, work in some dynamic exercises like Swiss balls or medicine balls.
Hire a Coach and/or Find a Buddy
Preparing to compete with world-class athletes in front of an audience of millions can be nerve-wracking. In order to get ready for the Olympics, athletes often hire coaches and/or work out alongside their competitors. Durkin suggests you hire a coach/trainer and work out with your buddies in order to stay focused and remain on track.
Go for the Gold
While it might be too late in your life to pursue Taekwondo or synchronized swimming on an Olympic level, you can train and get in shape just like an Olympian. Follow Durkin’s advice and you’ll feel like a champ while you’re watching the games this year. And hey, you can always order yourself a reproduction gold medal if it makes you feel better.