With the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia set to begin on February 7 and run through February 23, the media coverage of the athletes, venue, and surrounding hype are slowly building. The world’s best athletes are preparing to take the stage to show off their skill and training in the sports they love and have likely trained in since they were children. What does it take to train to be an Olympian? How do the world’s most elite athletes achieve their goals? And . . . Is it possible (or even advisable) for us “regular” athletes to adopt some of their training strategies?
An Olympic athlete’s training regimen can be brutal, no matter what sport he or she is training to compete in. In addition to practicing the techniques of a chosen sport in competition-like conditions (perfecting a downhill ski run, practicing a figure skating routine for months on end, or shooting an arrow with precision hundreds of times in a row), athletes also face daily training routines that would make even the most accomplished fitness veteran shiver. In order to build muscle, increase endurance, and improve cardiovascular and respiratory capacity, Olympic athletes often endure hours of yoga, running, biking, weight training, circuit training, and strength conditioning . . . all in a single day.
On top of this, Olympic athletes are very careful to monitor calories in versus calories out, especially since it’s not unusual for them to burn 4,000 to 7,000 calories a day! The last piece of the Olympic training puzzle is getting plenty of sleep. Olympic athletes often need to sleep up to 11 hours a night in order to help their bodies recover from or prepare for hard training days, not to mention repair muscle and digest the food they need to eat to balance all those expended calories.
So, what can an athlete like you or me take away from the extreme training methods faced by our elite Olympians? Despite the fact that their routines are amped up to the max in order to ensure they are in their most peak physical condition before the Games, they principles they follow are the same ones used by fit and healthy people everywhere:
- Balance calorie intake with calorie output to ensure you are fueling your body properly
- Set goals for your workout routines and consistently work to meet them
- Get plenty of rest to help your body repair itself and recover
One thing Olympic athletes must be extremely mindful of is that they are only able to compete under their own power, without any help from performance enhancers. This Winter Games has the most strict drug testing of any Olympics, ever! Athletes participating in the Games face almost 60% more testing than Vancouver’s Games just a few years ago, which translates to roughly 1,200 tests before the competition even starts, when doping is more likely. As the anti-doping policies get tougher, athletes who come from countries with weak or ineffective doping laws will face the possibility that they won’t be allowed to compete on the world stage in upcoming Olympic Games. However, that doesn’t mean that us regular folk can’t benefit from the positive effects of using a safe supplement such as Deer Antler Spray as part of our regimen. After all, we are seeking to improve our health and well-being, not compete professionally or in global competitions!