For a few weeks every 2 years we get to see the most amazing athletes in the world perform on a stage we call “The Olympics.” Whatever sport they participate in, whether its summer or winter, their training regimen, nutritional intake and positive mental attitude make for an amazing study for someone interested in Wellness. Have you ever watched one of the behind the scenes stories on an Olympic athlete? Their dedication to wellness is awe-inspiring!

What would it take to incorporate some of their routines into your lifestyle? I don’t recommend eating 10,000 calories a day like Michael Phelps does, but I am sure there are certain things we can learn from their training routine. If you want to improve your health, I suggest you begin to pay attention to some of their habits.

First of all, these athletes definitely get out and move. I don’t recall anyone winning the gold medal in “Arm chair reclining speed!” In my opinion, improvement in health starts with moving. Even if your diet is horrible, begin with moving because innately your body is going to begin to crave better foods. You simply cannot perform physical fitness on a diet of hamburgers and french fries. I think it is incredibly funny that 2 of the biggest sponsors of the Olympics are Coke and McDonald’s! There is no way those athletes could perform at the high levels of competition with that junk in them. Your body is no different. By getting out and moving, you will begin to crave better foods. This will begin to improve your diet by default.

So what kind of moving should you be doing? I am not a big proponent of long periods of cardio routines. For those of you just beginning a fitness routine, body weight exercises like push ups, sit ups, squats, chair dips will keep you busy for at least a year. If you do these exercises at a high intensity, your cardiovascular system will get plenty of work and therefore no extra time on the treadmill will be needed! Try this simple routine: 5 push ups, 10 sit ups and 15 squats (that is one round). How many rounds can you do in 20 minutes? A good goal would be 12-15 rounds!

The picture above asks a good question. Which of these athletes spent more time doing cardio type exercises? Which do you think is healthier? Like I said, I am not a big proponent of long cardio workouts. Short, high intensity workouts are much better for achieving wellness and they save you time as well!

Nutrition is also a key component of being healthy. I know I keep coming back to the basics of eating more food the way God made it, but it really is a recipe for success. The typical American diet is full of processed foods that are not even close to the way God made it originally. Wheat is a perfect example. Try a Google search for gluten allergies or gluten-free diet and see how many articles come up. The reason for these problems is 2 fold: wheat is a relatively new form of food for us. In other words, our ancestors did not eat that much wheat. Secondly, the wheat they did eat was not processed. It was completely whole grain. Look at all the foods today that have processed wheat in them: pasta, bread, cereals, cakes, pastries… the list could go on for quite a while! I cannot stress the importance of eating more God made foods!

Finally, have you ever seen an Olympic athlete that was a pessimist? I have never heard one say, “Well, I don’t know if I have what it takes to make it to the finals. I guess I will just get out there and see what happens.” These guys and gals are pumped up about competing and are out there to give it their best. Did you watch the movie “Cool Runnings” about the Jamaican bobsled team? Here are 4 guys up against great odds and yet they had great attitudes about the competition! Our attitude in life should be the same. My favorite definition of success is getting up one more time than you are knocked down. Life is rough, get over it! You will get knocked down… bounce back up and move on.