The Olympics arrived and gave us 16 days of inspiration! Watching the athletes run, jump, box and swim was truly amazing and a real showcase of what the human body is capable of. Now, I can’t promise to get your Jessica Ennis’ abs, or Katherine Grainger’s arms but the below tips will set you on the right track.
1) SET GOALS.
You can pretty much guarantee that all pro athletes have clearly set goals. Your personal goal might not be winning gold in Rio 2016 (although don’t let me stand in your way – I always say “aim high”) but having something to aim for will give you focus. They don’t need to be mega goals but they do need to be realistic. Examples could be:
– Fitting into an old pair of jeans
– Completing your first 5k run
– Having a week without any alcohol.
2) BE POSITIVE.
When setting goals, it’s important to phrase them correctly and not focus on the negatives. They should also be positive, so rather than saying “I don’t want to be fat”, instead say “I want to be strong and fit”. Better still, you could try daily affirmations such as “My body is getting stronger day by day and I am happy.”
Some people think that affirmations like this are silly and quite frankly namby pamby, but it’s a well recognised technique and well worth a try. If you’re not comfortable saying things out loud then try writing your affirmation(s) on a post-it note and sticking it somewhere you’ll view it several times a day – the fridge door, bathroom mirror, kettle.
3) GET HELP.
That might have come out the wrong way! When I say “get help” I mean get a coach, join a group, anyone you can be accountable too. If you’re setting new exercise and fitness goals then a personal fitness coach can be a great help but if this is out of your budget then there are plenty of other options. Wherever you live there is bound to be some kind of Bootcamp taking place. Many of these will offer a friendly environment, away from the gym, and offer nutritional support alongside the sessions. If you’re local to me here in Cambridge (UK), I run several Bootcamps (see www.lovefittraining.com). And for those of you further afield I have online options such as my Four Week Fat Attack programme which can be purchased via this site. I also run an online community for all things health and fitness at www.lovefit.ning.com.
If a group environment seems too intimidating for you, find yourself a fitness buddy. Somebody to go out for a walk / run with, or to go to the gym. It really helps having somebody else to answer to!
One thing every Olympian has in common is a coach.
4) TRAIN HARD.
Ok, so I’m not suggesting you actually start training like an Olympic athlete. Clearly their bodies are the result of a very strict, event specific schedule that might not fit in around your daily life. But you can be sure they get what they want from sheer determination and hard work.
So when you’re training, rather than plodding along on the treadmill for 30 mins and then doing a few sit ups at the end, try hitting your session hard, I mean really hard! Work intensely to the point where you can’t do any more, and then rest and recover until you can go again. For example, try adding some sprints into the mix – running as fast as you can for say 20 seconds, then walking until you’re ready to sprint again. You should also maximise the total body exercises in your workouts – things like burpees and mountain climbers might not feel like fun when you’re doing them, but they hurt for a reason!
NB: The above advice assumes you have a decent foundation level of fitness. If you are new to exercise, you should build up slowly. Going straight into intense intervals and heavy weights is not advisable. Always consult your GP first, and seek the help of a fitness professional if you are unsure about technique.
5) CUT THE CRAP.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Getting a hot bod is mostly down to nutrition. Exercise is, of course, an important part but if you’re eating rubbish then it doesn’t matter how hard you workout. You can be sure that the Olympic athletes don’t have a pizza of an evening “because they’ve earned it”, and they don’t down a bottle of wine because they’re having a bad day.
A very simple, effective exercise is to ask yourself this before you eat / drink anything: “Will consuming this bring me closer to my health and fitness goals?” If the answer is no, then think carefully before you sink your teeth in. A diet rich in vegetables (especially green leafy ones), high quality proteins and plenty of water will give your body the best chance of performing optimally.
Most of the crap I’m referring to is pretty obvious: Booze, sugar, processed foods but also wheat and dairy (lactose) can cause issue for people. I always recommend a 28 day “Cleanse” period to complete flush out the system and, more importantly, create new habits. Sometimes people just need their eyes opened to all the tasty, healthy meals there are out there. Visit my community site for some recipe ideas.
So there you have it. 5 simple steps for moving your body closer to that of an Olympian 🙂