Olympic Spirit

2014 olympicsWith the culmination of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (and spring break just around the corner), I find myself more motivated and inspired to hit the gym and work on my fitness routine. We can all learn something about ourselves while watching the Olympics, whether it’s a burning competitive spirit within ourselves, a sense of national pride, or enthusiasm to get in shape.

There are so many lessons to be learned in the competition alone, but the athletes themselves and their stories of triumph offer an even stronger image of what it means to be an inspiration. For example, when Bode Miller crossed the finish line (becoming the oldest-ever alpine skier to win a medal), viewers around the world felt strong emotions. Miller’s dedication is proof that you can do anything you set your mind to, no matter how old you are or what you’ve been through.

Here are a few things that I took from this year’s Winter Games.

  1. There’s no magic trick to fitness. Sure some people are lucky enough to be biologically blessed, but you can’t rely on genes alone when it comes to fitness. The most successful athletes will say that it’s all about training regularly and training hard. Everyone wants the secrets of exercise and diets but in my opinion the secret is consistency and dedication. I think Nike’s slogan sums it up best. “Success isn’t given. It’s earned.”
  2. Have a goal. For Olympians, their goal is earning that gold medal and hearing their national anthem fill the stadium as they stand proudly on the podium. But for me, my goal is to feel physically fit and healthy. Setting goals helps you stay motivated and focused. It is essential to set achievable goals so that you don’t get overwhelmed with unrealistic expectations. Remember to reward yourself when you reach your goal(s).
  3. Don’t push yourself too hard. Olympic athletes train intensely for hours a day with the help of coaches and trainers. But if you’re like me, your goal isn’t to become an Olympic athlete. You don’t need to work for hours on end with high end equipment and coaches to be fit and healthy. Actually, according to the Center for Disease Control, most teenagers and adults should get about 60 minutes of physical activity a day and it doesn’t have to be all at once. This could come from walking in your neighborhood, jogging on the track, playing basketball with your friends, practicing yoga, exercising on the elliptical, or swimming. Exercise doesn’t have to be painful, make it enjoyable!
  4. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is essential for a good workout because it affects your energy levels. Water is the best source of hydration. Sports drinks like Gatorade help replace your electrolytes lost during an intense workout like a sports game but are not always necessary after an hour at the gym.
  5. Everyone deals with setbacks. Maybe you had a busy week in school or injured your ankle playing soccer. Or maybe you just aren’t feeling motivated this week. It’s ok! It’s never too late to get back into your fitness routine. Even the most successful athletes need a break every once in a while. If you do lose focus, remember the goal you set for yourself and regain the motivation needed to achieve that goal. With a little dedication and commitment, anything is possible.
  6. Be patient. You aren’t going to see results over night. Even if you are hitting the gym regularly, progress takes time. As long as you are sticking to your regiment and working towards your goal, you will see results.
  7. Just do it! You can do it! Stay motivated. Maybe make a fitness plan with your friends. I find that I am more motivated to go to the gym if I am meeting my friend there. It also makes working out more enjoyable.

I hope you can take away something from my reflection of the Olympics or maybe you learned something yourself from watching the games. Best of luck to you and remember you can do anything you set your mind to!