Unlike the Winter Games where athletes are hidden under layers and layers of outerwear, the Summer Games showcase sleek, muscular physiques that every “body” would love to have.
No matter what shape you are in now, here’s how to find your inner athlete.
Step 1: Think like an athlete
Athletes are active. As obvious as that may sound, movement and exercise are as natural to them as breathing. Athletes are not looking for the closest parking space or the elevator when they’re on the go. It is also unlikely that an athlete spends hours sedentary in front of the TV or the computer. They move! When an athlete is in training, they often set goals for themselves that they strive to meet on a progressive basis. Treat yourself like you’re in training.
Step 2: Stay in training mode
Once individual fitness goals are met, make new ones. Mix it up a little. Chris Powell, host of the ABC hit TV series Extreme Makeover, Weight Loss Edition, offers the following advice for exercise, the F.I.T.T. plan:
- Frequency – Instead of exercising three days per week, bump it up to four days per week.
- Intensity – Instead of walking at a 3 mph pace on the treadmill, bump it up to a 3.5 or 4.0 mph.
- Time – Instead of exercising for 30 minutes, bump it up to 35 minutes.
- Type – Instead of running on a treadmill, go swimming or rowing or hiking or cycling.
Combining different types of exercise for overall fitness is the concept behind cross training, according to Vincent Oliver, owner of Let’s CrossFit in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“CrossFit is constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity,” explains Oliver. “It combines weight lifting, gymnastics and metabolic exercise.” Rather than focus on one activity to build up one area, CrossFit’s goal is overall fitness. “It has become a recognized sport,” says Oliver. “We now have the ‘CrossFit Games,’ which titles the World’s Fittest Person.”
Step 3: Eat!
Fad diets and food deprivation will not help you reach your fitness goals. Nutrition expert Rovenia Brock, Ph.D, says on Oprah.com that starving actually encourages fat retention. She recommends a gimmick-free approach to eating smart. Step up the fruits and vegetables, eat lean protein; replace unhealthy snacks with complex carbohydrates. Athletes agree. While musing on the perfect date, U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones is quoted in an ABC Team U.S.A. video as saying a good date is “one that he pays, I eat quite a bit.”
Put an end to sitting on the sidelines — find your inner athlete and let the games begin!