I’m a little slow to the Olympic Party this year, but I have watched 2 nights with my parents and became very interested in learning more about the training and preparation for Olympic Athletes. I found this great article called “How To Train Like An Olympian” from Forbes Magazine.
The sources I came across say it’s common for athletes to invest four to eight years training in a sport before EVEN making an Olympic team. Olympic athletes plan their training schedules annually and up to four years in advance to ensure they reach specific performance goals; and designating periods of rest and intense workouts years in advance, says Steve Bamel,who’s a strength and conditioning coordinator for the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Additionally in preparation for the games, the athletes will prepare their bodies for the types of conditions they’ll face during outdoor events. (Example: In Beijing, temperatures were projected in the 80s with up to 80% humidity.)
Athletes training at one of the U.S. Olympic Training Center’s facilities have a team of people they frequently meet with to include a nutritionist, exercise physiologist, sports medicine specialist and coach–to discuss their strengths and weaknesses, tweak their diets, and overloading and recovery techniques.
Physical stamina is only one side of the equation — they have to be mentally tough, too. Often separated from their families to train or compete athletes must juggle their demanding training schedules and personal lives. They also have to be able to beat their best friends and the people they regularly train and compete with year in and year out.
Since many athletes don’t have sponsors to help cover their daily expenses, some also have side jobs or careers. “In (the United States) most of these athletes have a lot of professional opportunities,” says Chris Wilson, a former U.S. Team Coach. “Their quality of life as an elite athlete is usually below what they could be achieving if they followed a professional career track.”
The Athletes need to sleep anywhere from eight to 10 hours a night. Resting is crucial because it gives their bodies a chance to rebuild tissue and muscle that’s been broken down during training.
So it turns out that training like an Olympic athlete is FAR MORE than a full-time job! I instantly coded the training regimen and process of an Olympic Athlete as “Realistic – Conventional” or “RC – The Technician” because it requires the highest combination of drive, commitment, discipline, focus and consistency – all traits that we see in our “RC” clients!