It is almost that time for the Olympics and I could not be more excited. I love watching sports and there is no better motivation for me than watching athletes compete for their countries. After being trained at an Olympic training site in high school, the Caspersen Rowing Center, I got a taste of just how intense training is and gained an immense amount of respect for these gifted athletes.

How could you not want to push a little harder on the treadmill when watching strong, fit, and focused athletes tear it up on the track? When I am watching a soccer game while on the treadmill I think to myself, these girls are running for over 90 minutes, I can bust out another ten.

Who better than the Olympians themselves to give us some pointers about fitness? Third time Olympic competitor, Allyson Felix, has two silvers in the 200-meter and one gold in the 400-meter relay. When talking about her training, she confesses that she hates longer runs. “They’re the worst, so I train with friends. When I make a date with my friend, I can’t back out, and we can chat for some of the run,” says Felix. This is a great tip and I have actually done this several times and it works!

One of my favorite athletes that I watched in 2008 was Nastia Liukin. She is said to train seven hours a day! Having that much training does a lot to the body so she does have a little extra help from a masseuse twice a week and uses acupuncture to speed up her recovery. Unfortunately, we do not all have this readily available to us so another great alternative is a foam roller. “The foam roller is a good way to hit your hamstrings, quads, and IT bands – and you can do it yourself anywhere,” says Liukin. I will warn first-time users of foam rollers that it can be very uncomfortable. I personally do not enjoy the process of foam rolling, however I love the way my muscles feel after and it truly does help reduce soreness.

The next tip comes from a personal favorite, rowing Olympian Susan Francia. In high school I was blessed to be coached by Susan and I can say she is one of the funniest people I have ever met. She was always extremely motivating during practice and always made it enjoyable. “I think of things that make me angry, and that makes me tougher,” says Susan. I could relate with Susan because we shared the same sport. She also said, “If I feel dead at the end of a race, then I know there’s nothing more I could’ve done.” I feel this is such great advice because if you know you are truly giving something your all, then it is harder to have any guilt.

Lastly, is soccer star Alex Morgan. She talks about something that many people struggle with, which is pushing yourself in workouts. It is so easy to become complacent with your workouts, however, that is not what gets us to reach our potential! “It’s easy to push yourself when people are watching, but hard to put in the work when nobody’s there,” says Morgan. It is relieving to know that even Olympians have trouble with keeping themselves motivated. We are all human. I find that getting out the door for a run is always the hardest part for me, not the run itself. In addition, keeping a routine for my workouts makes it a lot easier to stay on track.

There you have it! All of these tips come from the best and they are attainable for all. Friday, July 27 is when it all begins, so if you are in need of some great motivation, you know where to tune in. Go USA!

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