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Olympic athletes share their healthy lifestyle secrets

Our top Winter Olympic athletes have to be incredibly fit to perform at the level they do. Here they share with SheKnows some of their favorite diet and exercise tips.

Gold medal

Going for the gold at home

Our top Winter Olympic athletes have to be incredibly fit to perform at the level they do. Here, they share with SheKnows some of their favorite diet and exercise tips.
Years ago, when I was writing my first book, Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner of Champions, the story of Ironman triathlete Julie Moss was broadcast around the world. Moss had bicycled 112 miles, swam nearly two and a half miles and run 26 miles, giving her a big lead in the competition, only to collapse 50 yards from the finish line. Still, she heroically managed to crawl across and take second place. In her case, the difference between gold and silver was probably those last few calories of blood sugar.

Today’s athletes have no such issues. In fact, their grueling training regimens have inspired both novice and elite athletes to focus on their own health and well-being. And while athletes in their late 30s and early 40s have long since retired from their professional sport, a few Winter Olympics stars continue to compete and impress with their endurance and stamina.

Whether you just want to walk around the block or ski down Mt. Everest, here are lifestyle tips for staying fit from five athletes as they go for the gold in this year’s games in Sochi.


Alpine skier Marco Sullivan

Apline skier Marco Sullivan

To get in shape quickly, Alpine skier Marco Sullivan, 33, suggests hill sprints. “They’ll burn fat incredibly fast, and build lung capacity and endurance.” Another cross-training sport he advocates is mountain biking. “The time flies, and you’re having fun while getting fit.” Although in this ultimate “gravity” sport he burns off everything that he eats, he’s still conscious of his diet. “Clean proteins like peanut butter and poached eggs are my favorite. And a great dessert is a fruit smoothie.”


Snowboarder Nate Holland

Snowboarder Nate Holland

Nate Holland, 35, a snowboarding contender, opts for other activities that keep him fit between races. “There’s only so much time for snow,” he contends, “so every winter athlete has to cross-train.” He recommends wake boarding, wake surfing, mountain biking, dirt biking, snowmobiling, and fly fishing, which he notes are “all good for the mind, body and soul.”


Bobsledder Steven Holcomb

Bobsledder Steven Holcomb

And speaking of soul, bobsledder Steven Holcomb, 33, is into yoga and has been doing it for a number of years. “I originally started as a way to help get limber as a ‘push’ athlete, but I enjoyed it so much I just kept going back. It’s a great way to relax and escape the grind.” Furthermore, Steve favors an Advocare herbal cleanse every 90 days to “keep me running at peak performance.”

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Skier Billy Demong

Skier Billy Demong

Nordic combined skiing champion Billy Demong, 33, packs a small peanut butter sandwich and carries it with him wherever he goes. “I eat two to four of these a day during training and competition. It’s the perfect mix of protein and carbs.” Workout-wise, he insists that intervals are the single best training tool for a healthy heart and a lean, strong body. “Instead of an hour of straight exercise, try and do four-by-four intervals where you elevate your heart rate to a level that you could not do for 10 minutes. Make it hurt! But you will find quick gains in both your body’s composition and your fitness.”


Curler Erika Bowen

Curler Erika Bowen

And finally, there’s the matriarch of the group, in more ways than one: Erika Brown, 41, a champion in curling, the unique mix of shuffleboard and bowling on ice. Brown who is a physician’s assistant in a family medical practice, sees first-hand how important it is to start young. And that means raising healthy, active children. Her personal training includes golf, but she stresses the importance of playing with your kids. “I have two young boys and love to coach and cheer on the boys at soccer, T-ball and hockey, to name a few.”

So whether you are an aspiring or weekend athlete, or simply a soccer mom, these personal suggestions from top stars will help you maximize your energy.

More fitness tips

Cardio over cocktails: The new and improved happy hour
The right workout class for your fitness goals
The skinny-fat problem: Why lack of muscle tone is killing you

Photo credits: NBC Olympics/USOC

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