So, you’ve settled in ready to watch two weeks of the world’s best athletes strive for sporting glory. You marvel at their skill, stamina, poise and (rather most irritably) the apparent ease with which they perform.
While we all admire these athletes, our own endeavours, whether it be sporting competitiveness or simply to stay fit and healthy can often seem like a tiny achievement compared to those who battle it out every fours years.
It’s worth noting that none of these athletes have got to this point on their own. A huge support group surround a world class athlete, coaches, physiotherapists, biomechanists, strength & conditioning coaches, performance analysts, massage therapists, sport psychologists to just name a few. Often, years and years of planning, training, competing and sacrifice goes into those two weeks every four years, which for some athletes can be a matter of seconds or minutes.
What’s that you say? Don’t have your own support crew behind you? Don’t train 6-7 days a week?
Still want to train like an Olympian? We’ve got you covered.
We asked Chris Spinks, Senior Strength & Conditioner here at NSWIS for three things you can do to train like an Olympian.
1. Make Your Hard Session HARD, Make Your Easy Sessions EASY
This may seem like an obvious statement but far too often athletes try to make every session “hard”. What happens is that the sessions don’t get harder but our perceptions of effort go up. Soon we are finding it harder to do the same sessions we used to complete with ease.
To the rescue comes the “recovery session”, but this often turns into a moderately hard session, because the guilt of being soft kicks in or, even better, we feel a little better.
The key here is to plan your hard and easy sessions and make sure they are significantly different. Change the duration, type of exercise or intensity. On a basic effort scale aim for 3-4 out of 10 for easy days and 8+ out of 10 for the hard days.
2. Rest And Recovery Is Where You Get Your Gains
The human body is equally complex and fantastic with regards to how it handles exercise. The body works best in a state of homeostasis, that is, maintaining balance. When we exercise this balance is thrown out, the body treats exercise as stress on its ability to maintain this balance. So what does this amazing machine do to cope with this?
It builds muscle size and strength, improves cardio vascular fitness, and makes muscles more supple and agile. All this so the body can return to a normal balanced state as soon as possible.
Understanding this concept is key to this tip. Our sessions are simply the stress the body needs to make fitness gains. The actual gains occur after we finish while we recover.
So factor in recovery time to your exercise regime. Make sure there is enough time to eat and replenish lost fuel, drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluid and most importantly – quality sleep. Sleep is the body’s number one mechanism for repair and adaptation. The key is consistent sleep patterns, time to bed, time to rise, reduce smart devices before bed and make sure you get plenty of it.
3. A Symmetrical Body Will Help You Reach Any Specific Goal
So you’ve decided on your next training goal, whether it is a fun run, cycle sportif, swimming 1km without stopping or working on your first serve. You need to map out what time you have available, any coaching or help you need, and maybe a Google search for a few initial tips from experts.
This tip is for you, the human body is designed to be balanced, symmetrical. The human body’s joints, connective tissues and musculature are designed to work in opposition, in pairs. The key here is keep variety in what you do. Too much of the same activity not only limits any performance gains it can also lead to overuse injuries.
Variety is also key to keeping your motivation up on your desired sport/activity. Aim to incorporate at least one session a week that is different, working different muscles in different ways and every 3-4 weeks have a whole week where you do different activities.