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Feet pounding pavement. Arms pumping back and forth. Buckets of sweat. Steely determination. This isn’t some scene from the London Olympics; this was me last night as I ran down my suburban street. I may have run over a dog turd or two, but I felt like a freaking champion.
As of Friday, the 2012 Olympics are in full swing. Millions are watching as thousands of athletes compete to be the absolute best in their respective sports. Suddenly, there’s more to watch on TV than “Breaking Bad” and “Saved by the Bell” reruns.
There’s just something undeniably inspiring about watching the best athletes in the world go for the gold. While you’ve been going to school, working your job, and playing various versions of “Call of Duty” over the past few years, these mega-athletes have been putting their all into running, swimming, and shooting arrows. Really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? How much have you been working out?
Every Olympics has its official slogan, and this year’s is “Inspire a Generation.” I can say, without a doubt, that I’m already inspired to push myself to new physical limits. I may be some relatively unknown guy running past a string of fast food joints in upstate New York, but last night I felt super pumped. I’ve been running for years, but after watching athletes do what they’re doing in London, I just feel way more inspired. I feel somewhat of kinship with these athletes. I may not be an Olympian, but I sure as hell know what it’s like to push myself beyond my limits.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled How to Train Like an Olympian, where I discussed training and nutrition guidelines that actual Olympians follow. Now that the Olympics are here, I want to bring up another major aspect of the games, not the physical but the emotional/mental.
You might look at the Olympians and think “Wow, I could never do something like that. What these men and woman achieve are beyond most of my wildest dreams.” What many forget, however, is that these people are just like you and me. Sure, they might be sponsored by Coke and have teams of professional trainers measuring their speed and intake of electrolytes, but they’re just people practicing and practicing and practicing to become better at a particular sport. You may never win the gold medal in canoeing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out on a lake and paddle like crazy.
My advice: watch some of the Olympics this year. Whether you work out a lot, a little, or once every five years, it’s great inspiration for exercising. If these normal people can get out there in front of millions and accomplish ridiculous physical feats, what’s keeping you from putting on a pair of shorts and running around the block? What’s stopping you from playing a game of basketball with your friends once a week?
I’m going to watch more of the Olympics tonight. I’m sure I’ll try and run harder tomorrow. I may not have a gold medal, but I sure as hell won’t have love handles come fall.