Five tips to bring out your inner Olympian – or at least your potential

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Chances are you’ll never be an Olympian. As they say, if it was easy then everyone would be doing it.
However, you can tap into some of the secrets of Olympians to bring out your potential.
Here are five tips that trainers say many Olympians follow to help you go for the gold while cheering on the 2014 Winter Olympics:
1. Eat and drink correctly: Eat a breakfast made up of complex carbohydrates and high in protein, and then eat a healthy snack every 3-4 hours during the day. Drink plenty of water — experts recommend half your body weight in fluid ounces.
2. Get enough rest: Elite athletes who are in the midst of intense training require 8-10 hours sleep.
For average every day people on a fitness quest, even getting 8 hours of sleep would be good for you. Try to go to bed before 11 p.m. for optimal hormonal release. Avoid watching TV or using the computer starting a half-hour before bedtime to reduce electronic stimulation that can hamper sleep.
3. Warm up and cool down properly: Olympians and pro athletes take steps to avoid injury by warming up extensively and also cooling down properly. Do a light 10-minute warmup (something like jumping rope, ride stationary bike) before exercising. After a workout, focus on recovery techniques such as using a foam roller and stretching again to help reduce pain or soreness and maintain flexibility.
4. Practice positive thinking: Many Olympic athletes make mental preparation and focusing a big part of their routines. Read about fitness and envision a healthy, active you.
5. Push yourself: Learn how to push yourself during workouts to get better results. Don’t simply get on the treadmill or elliptical for 30 minutes straight and exercise on an easy setting. Mix in interval training where you exercise hard for 3-4 minutes, then go at an easier pace for a minute or two and then repeat.
As for strength training, it’s helpful for many people to occasionally lift heavier sets (do reps of between 4-8 with heavier weights).
BONUS TIP: Just like teammates help Olympians, if you can find a workout partner or partners it can help you train better.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at