Who’s ready for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea? The games start February 9th, with an estimated 92 countries participating, and countless medals up for grabs over the 16-day competition. There are just a few weeks until the opening ceremony, and Olympic contenders are no doubt putting in last minute strength and training exercises, boosting their immunity, and doing anything they can (within the rules) to give them an extra edge over their fellow athletes. Whether you’re a Black Diamond skier yourself, or are just looking for tips to get the most out of your weekly workouts, you too can perform and recover like an Olympic athlete.
Get Warmed Up
Instead of jumping straight into your next high-intensity workout, opt for a 10-minute warm-up first. This can be a light jog, a jump rope circuit, or reps of lunges and squats. A proper warm-up gets your muscles warm and prepped for more intense activity, so you reduce your risk of injury and ultimately get more out of your workout.
While you’re busy exercising your muscles, there’s one muscle you don’t want to forget; your mind! Olympiads have mental barriers they need to hurdle while in the midst of competition; nerves, confidence, and living up to expectations are just a few of the thoughts they have to manage. Many choose to get in the zone by listening to music, reading inspirational quotes or stories, or repeating motivating mantras to themselves. If you’re competing regularly, or just looking to get some more mental motivation for your next workout, try some of these tactics.
Keep Your Workout Dynamic
Doing the same exercise time after time is not only boring, but it also means you’re not getting a solid all-around workout. Olympic athletes do everything from running and swimming to utilizing medicine balls, free-weights, rowers, and high-intensity interval exercises. This kind of cross-training can keep you more engaged in the workout, and give you better all-around results.
You can stay more motivated and accountable to your workout plan by exercising with a partner, or even in a larger group. You can all cheer each other on, and give each other a hard time if someone is trying to flake out on the workout. Successful Olympic athletes often train in teams to stoke their competitive natures and keep urging each other to do better.
Utilize New Recovery Techniques
Stretching after a workout is always recommended. Foam rolling maximizes your post-workout recovery by pinpointing particularly sore areas and massaging them out. Matthew Reicher, a head trainer at Sports Science Lab, recommends that athletes roll a few times to find the most tender areas, then roll over that area for 30 seconds. Foam rolling can help your muscles stay strong and avoid cramping. Many pro athletes and Olympiads also get full body massages, or even opt to lie in an ice bath to soothe tired muscles. Choose whatever method works best for your level of workout intensity.
One of the unsung benefits of working out is the effect it has on sleep health. Those who stay active during the week see boosts in deep sleep and sleep duration. Your body relies on sleep to rebuild muscles and retain all that hard work you put in during the day. Getting a solid 8 hours under your belt is much easier after a good workout- your body needs it!
So, while you’re watching the world’s best athletes compete for gold, silver, and bronze this month, remember all the effort they put in to making it happen. And you too can prepare, perform, and recover like an Olympiad!