Rio 2016: How To Embrace The Olympic Spirit And Work Out Like An Athlete
If there’s one thing to take away from Team GB’s impressive medal haul at the Rio Olympics, it’s inspiration.
So forget spectating from the edge of your sofa, it’s time to follow in the their fast-paced footsteps and get active.
In the Rio 2016 hiatus between the Olympics and the Paralympics (7-18 September), here are five top tips to keep the momentum going in your own fitness regime.
Find A Workout Buddy
From the German twin sisters holding hands as they crossed the finish line to the ultimate squad goals of The Final Five, it’s clear that working out is so much better as a team.
Clean Eating Alice is a strong advocate of partner workouts, explaining that a friend can be a great way of finding and keeping the motivation to train.
“Pick someone who has a similar training style to you, and will push you to work that little bit harder, instead of someone who might just use the session to chat!” she tells The Huffington Post UK. “It’s important you both set goals too, and these can be done together or alone, but give a great sense of friendly competition to achieve these.”
“Have a plan in place for your partner workouts and keep each other spurred on to train with positive messages and words of encouragement when one of you isn’t quite feeling it!”
Also, it means skipping your workout means cancelling on a friend, so it’s not that easy. And it’s more fun.
Work Out For Free
While millions of pounds have been invested in Team GB, you don’t need to spend a penny to work out in the UK.
Making the most of the local park or free fitness apps, with a little determination and self-motivation (and a slamming music playlist), you can recreate the effects of the gym or fitness class.
If you’re not keen on working out alone, fear not there are plenty of ways to cash-in on free group exercise classes. If you live in London, we’ve already rounded up the best here.
If you’re outside of London, why not check out Parkrun, which are regularly races or varying lengths, or Goodgym, for nationwide fitness-meets-philanthropy.
Skipping a workout because gyms are “too expensive” is no excuse.
Try Something New
Is that Saturday morning bootcamp class starting to bore you? Take inspiration from the breadth of Olympic sports and mix it up.
According to findings from Sport England, there has been a surge of people looking to pushing the boat out and try new sports.
After millions tuned in to watch Rio – with 10.4 million tuning in for Max Whitlock win his second gold medal, alone – British Gymnastics has reported a 838% increase in interest of adult gymnastics. The organisation’s website Discover Gymnastics has seen a 380% increase, compared to the same period last year, with 68k visits in just 13 days.
The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) has reported a “record number” of enquiries about diving since the games began. It has received 780 enquiries from people looking to join their local diving club, compared to only 63 over the whole of July.
Director of Insight at Sport England, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “Thanks to Rio lots of people are now searching online for ways to get active. The Olympics can be a fantastic shop window for sport, particularly for sports we don’t normally see on TV like diving, fencing and taekwondo.
“Once you have chosen a sport you think you will enjoy, chat with a local provider. Don’t be afraid to let them know you are new, they can give really good advice on what you need to get started.”
Set Ambitious Goals
If watching the Olympics has taught us anything, it’s that the human body is capable of doing extraordinary things.
Now, we’re not suggesting you run 15,000m (just yet), but challenging goals – we mean really challenging goals – will push you to your limits and stimulate you physically and mentally.
Sonja Moses, Nike Master Trainer, says: “When we go to that place of pushing ourselves past whatever we can comprehend is possible. Not only is it a confidence boost for ourselves, allowing us to transform but also massive inspiration for those around us giving them that desire to work harder. This is how we become strong, rise up and grow!”
Moses is supporting Nike’s current ‘Unlimited You’ campaign, which hopes to inspire people to redefine their physical and mental limits.
Stretch And Recover
Often we’re so focussed on our fitness goals that we forget to rest and reset. Not only could this lead to injury, but it could hinder our performance or ability to improve.
Jonathan Lomax, founder of Lomax Bespoke Health club in London, told HuffPost UK: “There are several reasons one should focus on recovery and repair – protecting your immune system so you don’t get sick, ensuring you don’t create weaknesses by overusing joints and also ensuring you allow the muscle fibres to rebuild and get stronger.”
He suggested trying Pilates, yoga and any activity based on stretching and mobilising.
“By creating more mobility you will be able to perform sporting movements more easily and therefore you will be able to do more in the gym, run further swim faster, jump higher with less effort,” he adds.
“And if you need less effort to do these things then you can focus on making those marginal improvements that are the difference between bong on the medal podium or not!”
Lomax Bespoke Health offers a 60-minute Supple Circuit class that uses foam rollers, resistance bands and TRX to mobilise and activate body for exercise.