Train Like an Olympian: Here's How

By on February 13, 2010

SATURDAY, Feb. 13You may not be an Olympian, but there are lessons you can learn from them if you want to improve your athletic performance.

“The Olympics symbolize the chance for all of us to push the boundaries of human potential. As I tell my students, if you want to compete at a high level, mimic the strategies of those at the top,” Chris Sebelski, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University, said in a news release from the school.

Sebelski offered the following Olympian-inspired tips:

  • Set a goal and break it down. For example, if you’re planning a long hiking trip, you might start by walking three miles a day for the first two weeks, gradually building up to 10 miles a day by the end of 10 weeks.
  • Be sure to cross-train. It reduces the risk of overtraining, helps avoid injury, enhances muscle performance and helps prevent boredom.
  • Work out with others. Sharing a spirit of competition and encouragement will help keep your motivation at a high level. You’ll also gain training benefits from working out with others with different levels of ability.
  • Think of people who can help you achieve your goal, such as a trainer, nutritionist, physical therapist or physician. There are many different sources of help and you can select the one that works best for you.

While it’s impossible for most people to devote as much time to training as an Olympian does, you can approach the workout time you do have with the single-minded focus of a world-class athlete.

“Train for a couple of weeks with focus and discipline, and lo and behold, you’ll be surprised by what you can do,” Sebelski said.

Anyone can experience the sense of achievement and pride that comes from striving to improve on their personal best.

“It’s been said that running a marathon is now everyman’s Everest. But that’s true for every sport. You can train for the Sunday night bowling league, if that’s your passion. The bowling championship may be your Olympics,” Sebelski said.

“Regardless of the scale of your goal, you should have the experience, at least once, of training for and accomplishing a physical goal you set for yourself. Crossing that finish line is a feeling unlike any other.”

More information

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports offers guidelines for personal exercise programs.

Source: HealthDay

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