The Olympic games finally kicked off last Friday, and we can’t think of a better way to feel motivated than watching some of the world’s greatest athletes compete for the gold. So, as we root for Team USA over in Tokyo this week, let’s learn how to train, eat, and even relax like an Olympian.
Zero to Hero
You don’t need to be an Olympian to feel like one. Practicing functional fitness is an incredible yet underrated way to stay fit and healthy throughout all stages of your life. Instead of only lifting weights and climbing the stairmaster, functional features exercises that train and strengthen your muscles to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries or moving furniture. According to Mayo Clinic:
“Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.”
And of course, there are unique benefits. This article from Core Health & Fitness claims that practicing functional fitness improves your movement patterns, coordination, and mobility; improves your physique; and increases your calorie burn and muscle mass. For more on functional training, click here.
Whatever you do choose to do to stay fit and healthy, start with these tips from a certified strength coach. The advice includes setting a clear goal, taking a long-term view, balancing stress and recovery, and focusing on fundamentals instead of fitness fads.
Swim to Success
While working in the fitness industry, I’ve often heard that swimming is one of the best workouts for your body that you can perform throughout your life — and sometimes can be too fun to feel like it! According to CNN’s Mark Lieber, swimming provides both mental and physical benefits, more than even a distance run.
“Human swimmers typically spend about seven times as much energy to move a given distance compared to running,” the article reads. Additionally, some distinctive aspects of swimming is it’s cardiac benefits — which includes a slower heart rate that increases the amount of time when the heart can relax and fill with blood — and the fact that it requires controlled breathing (which can increase your lung capacity over time.)
So head down outside to your pool, or a local swimming hole and do some laps; it might not even feel like a workout. And don’t forget to tune into the Olympic swimming races because frankly, they’re pretty cool to watch.
Fuel for First
Ever wonder what Olympians eat? Here’s a hint: they don’t avoid carbs! According to this article from Everyday Health, gold-winning gymnast Simone Biles “opts for balance, and avoids tracking her food and caloric intake” and top swimmer Katie Ledecky includes “toast, sandwiches, and berries all feature on her daily menu — with energy-boosting protein like chicken and nut better, as well.” Ledecky even recovers with chocolate milk, “which offers the perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates for optimal recovery.”
When it comes to the variety of Olympic sports, running, cycling and swimming burn the most calories, so in turn, those athletes consume the lots of carbohydrates in order to sustain their strenuous workouts. Interestingly, these athletes do not load up on carbs with a bowl of pasta, which can actually lead to “bloating and poor performance” according to this article from Web M.D. Instead, “many elite athletes drink carb-rich smoothies or drinks.” Check out the full article here for a numerical breakdown of the calorie intake per sport, and to see the daily meals of Olympians like Ryan Murphy, Usain Bolt and Gabby Douglas.
LOCAL NEWS: The Merrimack River Watershed Council recently released a video and webpage explaining the dangers of combined sewage overflows (CSOs), the first video that specifically addresses the impact of CSOs on the Merrimack River. Click here to watch the video and learn more.
Olympian Yogis. Yes, even olympic athletes find time to relax too. Check out this article to learn about five olympic athletes who practice yoga, and how it has benefitted their games and competitions. One of the coolest to learn about was basketball star Kevin Durant!
Making Strides. A new law in Maine has made it the first U.S. state to hold companies responsible for recycling the waste that they produce. Read all about it here.
Canada’s Back. Beginning Aug. 9, Canada will finally reopen its borders to travelers. Interested in booking a trip to our northern neighbors? Visit here for everything you need to know.