The Olympic Trials were held a few weeks ago and, right now, the majority of Americans are still buzzing about them as the 2012 London Olympic Games draw nearer. As each round of trials aired, the athlete inside of many grew hungry. For some, it’s motivating to watch such talented athletes succeed in their sports. Watching swimmer Ryan Lochte win his heat – while drooling over his hot bod of course – or holding your breath while gymnast Jordyn Wieber goes for her beam dismount kind of makes you wish you could be there doing something amazing yourself.
After you get past the initial awe of watching the athletes compete – something that isn’t quick to go – you begin to wonder how exactly they got to the position they are in today. What pushed them to get there? What made them the best? The U.S. Olympic Team’s athletes harbor more motivation, dedication, and perseverance than any other in their sport, but why?
HBO Real Sports recently ran a story about 100m hurdler Lolo Jones that sparked the interest of many. The interview covered the harrowing story of Jones’ childhood and revisited her failure to qualify at the 2004 Athens Olympics and her loss at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where she knocked down the ninth hurdle; that ninth hurdle is something that has haunted her for the last four years. As Jones stepped past the finish line of that cruel race, she sank to the ground and remembers, “I felt like somebody had just stabbed me in the stomach. I didn’t even have the energy to get up. I couldn’t even stand.” However, right after that she reminded herself, “You’re at the Olympics. You made it to the show.”
Jones’ setbacks didn’t stop her; she has pushed on. In the interview, Jones says she has been training harder than she ever has before. The athlete is hungry for the gold and after everything she has been through she has once again qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Jones literally ran away from her past and toward a brighter future. She had a tough road to London, but how she got there isn’t what is most important, it’s that she made it after everything she had to endure.
Now that you’ve learned about Lolo, I can assume that you’re sitting here wondering, “Okay, so how does this apply to me and my fitness goals? What does this mean for us, the ‘normal’ people?” Well, if you think about all of the times Lolo Jones has been turned away from the gold and the way she pushed forward after each setback, you may begin to see her drive and perseverance as inspiration. If you take what Jones and other Olympic athletes practice each day and work to apply their mental disciplines to your own life, your fitness goals and progress are sure to skyrocket.
It is important to remain positive and determined while training even if you are going through a slump or plateau in your fitness goals. Jones pushed harder each time she was at a loss, which is exactly what you should do in the gym. If you normally do twelve reps of each set, push for fifteen; the burn from those extra three reps will remind you that you’re stronger than you think. You’ll realize that, like Lolo, you can keep pushing to better yourself.
If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you’re working toward a goal or, in the spirit of the Olympics, traveling on a road toward them. Enjoy the remainder of the summer Olympics and, while you’re at it, pave your own road to London because Nike is right, “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
Women always have a million and one things on their plate at all times. The stresses of daily life can be too much to deal with sometimes, so we tend to get overwhelmed with all of the things we have to juggle – work, kids, cleaning, the never-ending dieting. When we get overwhelmed, we become stressed and, when we’re stressed, we turn to food for comfort. After you’ve had your first couple of Oreos, you come to this realization that you’ve cheated on your diet, and, once you’ve cheated, you get the “well-I already-screwed-up-so-I-might-as-well-eat-everything-in-the-pantry” mind-set. We all go through it – it’s a part of life. The only difference from that being a part of your life to living a healthy life is that you can learn to change it, so it doesn’t ruin your health or weight loss goals. You can eliminate this bad habit.
I know countless women who spend their time searching the internet for new ways to lose weight or get in shape – I used to be one of them – but I have news for you: There’s only one way to do lose weight or reach your health goals; it’s to live a healthy lifestyle. There is no certain diet that will lead you to your goals. For example, Atkin’s works, but only for a few months until you get sick of it, binge on bread, and realize that you’ve consumed way too much protein than is healthy. You can read and learn all you want about diet and exercise, but unless you do something with that knowledge, like incorporate it into a healthy routine, it’s useless. There’s no magic book, fitness DVD, or famous personal trainer that will change your life or do the work for you. The information is out there, and it’s great to acquire, but only you can make yourself use it. Jillian Michaels can’t come out of the TV while you’re watching “The Biggest Loser” and tell you to get off the coach and stop eating donuts. If you want to make a change for the better, you must get your head in the game and make yourself get off that couch. The best way to make a change in your life is by creating a structured day molded by new, healthy habits.
It is common knowledge that repetition leads to habit. The development of a habit isn’t something that happens overnight and I think that’s why so many women get frustrated with themselves and give up so easily. In order to create habitual structure or routine in your day, you must practice and repeat the skills that will lead you toward a healthy habit and, ultimately, your optimal health or weight loss goals. Once you’ve continuously and successfully mastered the repetition of the new routine in your life, all of the things about dieting and working out that seemed so incredibly difficult before will take little to no effort at all! When you fit the right routine into your life and find a structure that works in your day, it will be a breeze for you to make progress.
Structure and routine will not only benefit your health, they will also allow you to achieve other goals in your life while organizing your thoughts and tasks. By planning ahead and already knowing what your day will consist of, you remove all unnecessary distraction from your day.
“[Structure] can also greatly simplify your work day and personal life, as your day won’t be overly chaotic and complicated, you can group similar tasks together and batch process them, and you can be sure of doing the things you really need to do. Most importantly, it puts you in control of your day, instead of putting you at the mercy of the ebb and flow of all incoming requests. Without a routine, we have no good way of saying “no” to requests as they come in, and we are at the beck and call of every person who wants our time and every website that wants our attention. That’s not a good thing, not if you want to get the important things done” (Zenhabits.net).
It sounds simple and, for once, it actually is. Make a plan, stick to it, see results. Get your work finished, live a calm, organized life, and reach your health and fitness goals while doing it.
You’re convinced now, aren’t you? Well, now that you’re gung-ho for structure, the next step would be to create it. Here’s where you ask, “How do I do that?” Good question.
Follow these tips:
Most important, you need to have confidence in your ability to accomplish your goals and must be motivated enough to follow through with your new plan. Each and every one of you is capable of achieving your goals, you just need to believe so. Take pride in yourself and make sure that you are making choices you will be happy with the next day. Let everyday be better than the last – make progress! I believe this post is like all of the other information out there; I’m telling you what you need to do, now all you need to do is actually do it! I know you can! Good luck!
Learn about “Optimizing Your Productivity with Daily, Weekly Routines” here: http://zenhabits.net/optimize-your-productivity-with-daily-weekly-routines/.
Girl Language! Many women are clueless when it comes to fitness and that’s totally normal! That’s why I’m here to help you learn and evolve into your confident, fit selves! I’m well aware that there is a huge scope when it comes to athletic abilities in women, so I will be providing heath and fitness tips for each and every type!
Typically, this blog will target two different ‘fit levels’: beginner and advanced. For each level, I will provide ‘clean’ eating recipes and tips, exercise videos, and daily motivation. This way, each and every one of you will have a variety of ‘fit tools’ to keep you motivated and healthy!
For the beginners, I will be posting home workouts as I know many women are intimidated by the gym – totally understandable! The beginner videos and posts will include a rundown of each exercise and perfectly comprehensible explanations of what muscle the exercise strengthens and how it should feel when being executed. The goal is to build confidence, so what I would hope to do is eventually introduce many of the ‘home workout women’ to the gym, so I will be posting videos about exercise equipment – what it is, where it is, and how to use it! The clean eating posts for the beginners will explain why clean eating is best for your body, when and what you should eat, and how to stay on track.
For the more advanced readers, I will be posting ‘bootcamp’ type workouts in various locations as well as bodybuilding workouts. I will also be reviewing workouts I find on Youtube.com to inform you what I find effective in each. New and challenging exercises will be introduced regularly for you to incorporate into your workout to keep things changing! In regard to clean eating, I will provide you with countless recipes and tips to keep your clean diet fresh!
As for me, I should probably introduce myself, huh? My name is Ashley! I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I was a level 10 gymnast before the age of thirteen and now I train as a bikini competitor. I had horrible eating habits my entire life even though both of my parents were bodybuilders, so when I quit gymnastics in high school, I thought it was alright to eat the same things I ate when I trained for six hours a day. Big mistake! I gained a lot of weight and was unhappy with my body for a few years. In college, I began to think about a career in bodybuilding and started to eat clean and exercise again. I felt energized simply from feeding my body healthy foods and gained more confidence when I began seeing results week by week when coupled with exercise. I kept at it and now it’s a lifestyle, not a diet! They say ‘it takes sixty-six days to make something a habit’. Why not start today?