Once again it is time for the Winter Olympics! This year the Winter Olympic events will be hosted in Sochi, Russia February 7th– 23rd 2014. As each of the Olympic Games pass, I am always left in awe of the sheer skill and determination that each athlete must possess in their event. Many of these athletes dedicate the majority of their day to training and recovery in order to be at the top of the list. They may even move to specialized Olympic training facility and have sponsors supporting their journey to the winner’s podium. For many, Olympic level training is not a part time, but a FULL time job. In a NutriciseDr.com article, long track speed skater, Shani Davis is mentioned as having spent 6 hours training during his off-season!
While the amount of time spent training seems unfathomable, one undeniable fact is that many Olympians have what most would consider an ideal body type due to training and nutrition. But when you start crunching numbers about the amount of time that is dedicated, to cardio, strength and sport specific training, that amount of time for training is simply NOT possible.
BUT WAIT- before you reach for that bag of donuts, all is not lost! YOU can be on track to a better body by implementing and modifying some of the same strategies that the Olympians use when getting in the best shape of their lives. Below you will find 5 tips and tricks to build an Olympic athlete physique!
1.Cardio Respiratory Training- The America College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends cardio respiratory training 3-5 days a week. The intensity of your training should be within 55/65%-90% of Max Heart Rate. The duration of the exercise should be 20-60 minutes of continuous (or 10 minute intervals) training per day. Low intensity training should be 30 min or more, while higher intensity training should be performed for a minimum of 20 minutes.
2.Strength Training– Aim to perform 2-3 days a week of progressive load training. Progressive load training means that as you become stronger, you add more weight in order to challenge yourself and increase muscular strength. The ACSM recommends 1 set of 8-10 exercises performed for 8-12 repetitions. These exercises in combination should target all major muscle groups.
3.Flexibility– Try to stretch all major muscle groups 2-3 days per week. According to the ACSM, this will help develop and maintain your range of motion. Working on flexibility will help in your training, relieve stiff muscles and aid in recovery.
4.Specificity Training– If you have a sport specific goal. Make sure that you spend time working on aspects of your fitness that are directly correlated with your desired performance. For example, if you are wanting to run a 5k, your cardio and strength training will help you have the fitness level to complete the race. By performing specificity training, you should ensure that some of your training involves running the 5k distance and trying to get better each time you run that distance.
5.Nutrition– For many, the most difficult part of changing your body composition is changing your diet. When trying to make adjustments to your nutrition, start with small attainable goals. Such as: Only eating out twice a week as opposed to seven days a week. Drink more water. Keep healthy snack alternatives on hand with you rather than nose diving into the vending machine. Also, try not to make foods “forbidden” or “bad”, this socially constructed terminology leads people to restrict eating certain types of food and in many cases giving into the temptation and binging/overeating more than they would have in the first place.
As you can see, with a little bit of guidance and determination, you can make small steps into toning and sculpting your physique. Try some of the tips listed above and keep track of your progress for ultimate success!
Share your training strategies in the comments section below!