Olympians teach us the health tricks they swear by
This year’s Opening Ceremonies kick off Friday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.
Lolo Jones, hurdler
Watch the “D” word. “I don’t diet. I do, however, eat very lean — lots of fish and chicken. I cut out the extras; [I'll make] a salad with no dressing. I eat a lot of protein.”
Home stretch. “I have a ton of yoga videos of which I enjoy. They relax me and are essential to my flexibility.”
Jordyn Wieber, gymnast and P&G Beauty Ambassador
Drink up. “Stay hydrated. Drinking water is so important.”
Power to the protein. “Fuel your body for energy by eating foods rich in protein, and eat lots of vegetables.”
Dominique Moceanu, retired gold medal gymnast and the author of the memoir “Off Balance”
Cheaters win. “When embarking on any diet or healthy eating regimen, it’s important to plan out a ‘cheat day’ once a week. Too many of us equate giving in to temptation as failure, and it’s just not true. Allowing for a day to ‘give in’ helps us avoid binge eating which can lead to guilt, resulting in starving techniques (which will ultimately lead to more binge eating) or entirely giving up on the diet. Having a ‘safety net’ allows us to enjoy our favorite foods at least one day out of the week and transforms our eating regimes into a series of rewards for our discipline rather than a punishment for our disappointments. A ‘cheat day’ can provide a big psychological boost to keep us motivated to continue our healthy lifestyles!”
Flex it out. “Gymnastics taught me the value of hamstring flexibility. Flexibility is a crucial component to any workout, but it’s often overlooked as many us have been guilty of hurrying through our workouts due to time constraints and passing over our stretching exercises. The hamstrings work closely with the lower back in our daily posture and play a major role in how we walk, run, and stand.
The lying hamstring stretch is my favorite workout move. It starts lying face up with the legs straight. Bring your right leg up towards you while keeping it straight during the whole stretch. You can use both of your hands to hold your leg right under the knee to increase the stretch, then repeat it with the other leg. Improving your hamstring flexibility will help to decrease injuries and improve performance in your workouts and daily activities.”
Justin Gatlin, gold medal sprinter
Feel the burn. “Regardless of what level of fitness or training you are, make sure you get in plenty of cardio and do plenty of stretching before the workouts to prevent injury, especially when you are just starting out.”
Off the field. “Eat less fried foods and more baked, grilled or even broiled. Be prepared to make ultimate sacrifices in order to reach your goals.”
Christie Rampone, Captain, U.S. women’s soccer team, gold medalist
Begin a new routine slowly. “Don’t jump right in. The first couple weeks will be the hardest with soreness and being tired. Try your best to have a workout buddy, or join classes. Make a schedule for yourself with a definitive time and you will have more success moving forward. Once you become consistent, make sure to change your workout routine to keep your body and mind fresh or hitting a plateau. You want to get results!”
Elana Meyers, bronze medal bobsledder
Her favorite drill. “I love to run hills- you can’t go wrong with the intensity of hill sprints! Squats are great for developing leg muscles. The soreness goes away eventually — push through it! Find some good music to keep you going.”
Tim Morehouse, silver medal fencer
Strengthen your core. “One of the machines that I use a lot is the Kinesis from Technogym. [It's] basically a cable machine. If my core is weak I will just, like, flop over to one side. With the cables I do a lot of motions and different directions: holding the cable in my right arm and crossing my body and touching my left leg — that’s also working on my flexibility. So I do a lot of different motions with resistance using cables and I think that [if] you start going in different directions with it, it really starts working your core and also your flexibility. I think doing a lot of the motions, especially people that do sports, like replicating the motions that you do in sports — but with a cable attached to your arm if you’re a pitcher or a leg if you’re a soccer player — I think really builds up strength.”
Asphalt Green fitness center, in addition to Equinox gyms, are all outfitted in Technogym equipment, so you can get going just like Morehouse.
Choose your support wisely. “The people around you are so important. As someone trying to be an Olympian, I need the best coaches, teammates and people around me who are really driven, and I think [it's] the same thing with food: If you’re around people who are eating bad, the odds that you’re gonna eat worse probably go up. If you’re around people that eat well I think you’re probably gonna make better choices with them. This relates to fencing, eating or whatever: The people around you just have a massive impact.”
Summer Sanders, retired gold medal swimmer
Eat a good breakfast. “As an athlete and as a kid growing up, my mom would say to me every day, you have to eat a good breakfast — something that sticks to your ribs. She would make me believe that what I was eating was going straight onto my ribs and that was then gonna be used for my swimming races. I quickly realized that what I put in my mouth was fuel for my day. And now with my kids, I’m reminding them constantly that you can’t get to glory of the finish line, you can’t have a great day without a great start, and so we together sit down and have breakfast. Breakfast has sort of turned into the new dinner, where you have great conversations.”
Jake Kaminski, archer
Change your plane. Archers need a stable core to make a straight shot to the center of the bulls-eye. Kaminski works his with the Flexor Sports Training System, but if you don’t have access to fancy equipment, it’s comparable to the uneven surface of a Bosu ball. “I move throughout a specific range of motions doing a specific set of exercises to develop my core strength and my ability to control my body,” says the archer, who does moves laying, seated, standing and kneeling. “It basically makes you learn your body.”
Train like an Olympian
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The New Balance 5000 were created for the New Balance Olympics team — they’re the lightest road running shoe in the world — and now you can give them a try, too. $125, www.newbalance.com
UXF: London Calling at NY Sports Club
Based on the gym’s Ultimate Fitness Experience class, this workout will have you moving across various stations that have their roots in the London games. You’ll jump hurdles at “The Lolo,” practice rowing at “The Winklevoss,” work your left-hook at “The Sugar Ray” and take part in other exercises based on the moves of your favorite Olympians. Your incentive (besides a body as ripped as Michael Phelps) is that you’re competing against your fellow exercisers, and yourself, as you’ll complete each round three times. The classes are capped at five participants, so there’s no waiting your turn on a station. You must RSVP for the class, which is free for members and nonmembers; visit www.mysportsclubs.com for times and locations.