TRAIN LIKE AN OLYMPIAN
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get the same performance and nutrition advice as an Olympic athlete? We tap the pros for their training secrets.
With Rio 2016 Summer Olympics kicking off on August 5, Olympic feverish in the air. And we can’t help but wonder how the top-level athletes get into such great shape We might not be on our way to Rio, but there no reason why we can’t learn a thing or two from the pros. Want Olympic-level athleticism too? We managed to get exclusive access to the training, eating and brain-boosting methods the elite athletes use. It’s time to apply this gold-standard advice to your own training and start reaping the results!
ENTER THE GYM ZONE
To be a great athlete, you have to condition your body for sport.Olympic athletes work just as hardin the gym as they do on the field(for proof, Google Nino Schurter The Hunt for Glory’). World Champion mountain biker and Scott-Odlo MTB racer, Schurter,explains why his gym methods are so important. ‘A lot of mountain bike coaches come from the road,but mountain biking is different because it requires upper body strength and power. It’s important to train differently, and my coach was one of the first to analyse how to train for mountain biking. If You ride technical trails, you need strength, coordination, balance and a strong core, which you can get from gym workouts. The gym work also makes a change. I train so much that it’s nice for every day to be a bit different.’
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OLYMPIC BODY SECRETS
LOOK AFTER YOUR LIMBS
During the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics, Sarah Claxton Former 100m Olympic hurdler and personal trainer at Embody Fitness(embody fitness.co.uk), followed a pre-race routine that prepared her body for racing. ‘The day before any of my competitions I would always get a massage to prepare myself for the next day. Most of the time, I would have travelled to another country for the competition I was going to compete in, so I needed a massage to get the tiredness out of mylegs. On the day of a competition, I would do some physio work to make sure my muscles were stretched out and firing correctly. This Is my routine throughout my track and field career.’
BELIEVE IN YOUR BODY
An old injury, a minor cold – physical setbacks can knock an athlete’s confidence.That’s why Olympians have experts such as Professor Cathy Speed, chief medical officer for the GB badminton team, to stop them fixating on niggles. ‘We devise strategies that will allow athletes to compete without injuries troubling them. Others may have conditions such as asthma or diabetes that need monitoring. Our Job is to identify a problem early on, reassure the athlete and work with them to ensure pain-free movements. We do this through medication, soft tissue work,rehabilitation exercises, stretching,nutritional supplements and plenty of rest.’
TAPER FOR RACE DAY
The type of training an athlete does in the weeks leading up to an event can make a difference to performance. GB pentathlon,Samantha Murray, says the taper period,during which athletes gradually reduce their training volume, is crucial.‘Tapering is key to performance. We fly to the holding camp in Belo Horizonte,a 45-minute flight from Rio, on August 9. We’ll stay there four days,during which time we’ll do light training,try to acclimatise and take in the feel of Brazil. We travel to the Olympic Village on August 14, so I’ll have two days to recover and absorb the excitement of the village atmosphere before I begin my Olympic competition on the17th. At this stage, all the hard work is already done. My priority will be to enjoy my event.’
TRAIN LIKE AN ATHLETE
With a month to go until the Olympics, pentathlete Samantha Murray was using her time wisely Here’s a typical training day.
7:30 am Wake up and stretch, then do some mobility work and meditation.
9 am Go to the training centre for a 10K running session, followed by a 4K swim.
1pm Lunchtime. Eat a well- balanced meal, such as pasta, greens and fish.
2pm Spend the afternoon focusing on skill events – shooting, fencing and horse riding (Samantha trains for two of these each afternoon).
6pm After the day’s physical work, it’s time to relax and eat a good meal. 8pm Meditate again, then enjoy a good night’s sleep.
OLYMPIC MIND SECRETS
DON’T LOSE YOUR FOCUS
Fact: professional athletes are completely focused on their training and sport. Paralympics Printer and Eukanuba Pet food ambassador Libby Clegg, says they’ll do everything they can go into the Olympics feeling prepared, even if they come across as unfriendly!‘My most important training tip is to be prepared and organised.I feel like I come across as quite rude before a big event but that’s only because I try to seclude myself from everything else,and everyone else,around me.‘It’s hard to concentrate on what you need to do to bring home a medal if everyone around you is talking about their competitions and tactics I go and sit on my own,so I can listen to an audio book, zone out and concentrate on doing the best I can.’
TRUST YOUR TRAINING
One thing all Olympians have incommon? The will to win. But just how do they nurture the unshakable confidence to always aim for the top? Harry King, England Athletics national coach mentor says: ‘Confidence comes from the successful completion of a well-planned race programme The ability to “go for gold’’ is developed through high-level competition exposure which breeds familiarisation and personal desire. The mind plays a huge part, soI set high-speed sessions as close torace time and conditions as possible.This lowers anxiety and mental pressure when in the arena.’
CELEBRATE THE STEPPING STONES
An athlete’s racing season is all planned out, with big and small goals in mind. Double Olympic Cycling champion, Laura Trott,says that performing well in the build-up races provides the confidence to tackle the big goals The UCI Track Cycling World Championships [which took place March 2-6 at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark] was our first stepping stone towards Rio. It was our last major championships, so it was very important to compete in it andrace the way I wanted to. We dogo into a race wanting to win everything, and the team pursuit didn’t go to plan, but the next two rides came together. The Pressure was on and I wanted to perform, so it’s good to have posted times on the board that I knew I could do.’
TUNE IN TO ZONE OUT
From mid-race mantras to visualising race day, top athletes have plenty of mind tricks that they call upon to help them succeed on race day. Want one that you can use at home? British Olympic diver, Tonia Couch Claims that a pre-race playlist can really help to get her in the zone for competition.‘I treat the Olympics like every other competition I’ve Done – I compete against the same people, so I know what to expect,’ says Couch. ‘Mostly I just get excited, butI do listen to music after I’ve warmed up, while going through the motions of the dive in my head.’
LEARN TO BOUNCE BACK
If there’s one thing Olympians have in spades, it’s resilience. Whether Bouncing back from a disappointing race, recovering from an injury or returning to fitness after having a baby, elite athletes have done it.Former 400m Olympic hurdler and Sibberi tree water ambassador,Perri Shakes-Drayton, reveals how she’s returned to the track after injury.‘It’s important to accept what has happened, find out the facts and work towards getting back as quickly as possible. I’ve tried to stay positive and keep myself occupied. It helps to look at the everyday successes– because the situation is temporary.’
OLYMPIC DIET SECRETS
KNOW ALL ABOUT NUTRITION
While many Olympians have a nutritionist to show them the ropes, it’s important athletes know a thing or two about eating for their sport. Former team pursuit Olympic and member of the Wiggle High5 team,Dani King, relies on her own nutritional knowledge Eating smartly is so important, even more so for road riding than for track cycling because it’s important to be as light as possible. I’ve had to follow quite a strict diet, fuelling for training and recovery I think it’s fascinating how much of an effect food has on performance. I’m Doing an open university degree with modules on nutrition, so I do lots of research myself.‘I know a lot about what to eat and enjoy healthy food, but I still have the odd treat – Cadbury’s Creme Eggs Are my guilty pleasure!’
EMPLOY AN EXPERT
Thinking about investing in a nutrition or fitness pro? Alltop athletes are dedicated to their sport – training, eating,resting and recovering according to schedule. But long-distance Olympic swimmer, Keri-Anne Payne, says it helps to have an expert monitoring your moves.‘My day consists of eat, swim, eat, gym, repeat,’ says Payne’S swim around 70,000m each week – 2,800 lengths of the pool(or 43 miles) over 10 sessions. I also do a session outside of the pool, weights or cardio in the gym, and a run or yoga workout Food – both what I eat and when – is key to my recovery.I eat before and after each session, ensuring I refuel my body within 20 minutes after training. I usually make dinner before the evening session, as I sometimes don’t eat until 8.30pm.I have a great team that help me be my best; they are allan integral part of my journey. Knowing I have world-leading experts gives me the confidence that I’m spending time and effort doing the right things.’
WHO’S ON YOUR TEAM?
Olympians have a team of experts to help with their training. Here’s who’s on Team Keri-Anne Payne:Coach, Laurel Bailey – ‘We have daily contact and have developed a fantastic partnership over the past four years, working together to get the most out of me in and out of the pool Assistant coach, Kris Gilchrist – ‘Hethe assistant coach at the pool andruns my gym programme. Kris was an Olympic swimmer at Beijing 2008 It’s great to have someone who’s been there to write the programme.He understands what it takes.’Physio, Louise Imrie – ‘I meet with Louise about three times a week. She Brilliant at keeping me injury free.’Nutritionist, Ruth McKain – ‘I meetRuth a couple of times a month. She Specialises in endurance sports. Last Year, I found out I had a gluten intolerance so, together, we’ve come up with a gluten-free diet.’
EAT AROUND YOUR WORKOUTS
One rule all athletes follow is to eat before and after training. Georgia Bellas Nutritionist at Fresh Fitness Food, provides tailored nutrition for Team GB’s Mo Sbihi and Zoe Smith. She says: ‘Eating four to six meals day keeps your metabolism active and gives you the energy to bust out an intense training session. Good nutrition prevents glycogen depletion and muscle damage, and enhances muscle recovery. Carbs, such as brown rice sweet potato or quinoa, and protein such as chicken, beef or turkey,pre and post workout, give you the best chance of optimal performance and recovery.’
CONTROL YOUR CRAVINGS
The Olympic dining hall caters for every sport and taste, meaning athletes can munch on anything, from curry to roast dinner or Dim Sum. To us, it sounds like the best buffet ever. But British team hockey player Hannah Macleod says self-control is crucial.‘Every sport has to decide which staff members go to the Olympics. Weight-category sports such as rowing or boxing will have nutritionists with them,but our nutritionist won’t be with us. Instead, we seethe menus beforehand and discuss them with our nutritionist. Not all the foods available at the Olympic Village are healthy – some athletes are trying to consume 6,000 calories a day, after all – so it’s important to be disciplined. We always look at the logistics – the timing of our matches change, so we take food (such as a protein shake and some fruit ora cereal bar) on the bus to have immediately after a match. The dining hall is open 24 hours, so we eat when we get back.’
EAT LIKE A GB HOCKEY PLAYER
Wonder what the GB hockey players fuel up on? British team hockey player Hannah MacLeod reveals her daily diet
Hannah eats scrambled eggs, rye toast and avocado before training.
After working out, she has quinoa or sweet potato with fish or chicken and plenty of veg, followed by a yoghurt.
Hannah eats fewer carbohydrates at diner than at lunchtime – steak or salmon with rice or root vegetables and salad.
SNACKS : Hannah eats fruit throughout the day to keep her energy up.
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