Okay, so not really. But, based on an article from Fitness Magazine, I (mostly) eat like an Olympic athelete. How cool is that?
Um, yeah… that picture’s not me, either. That’s Kerri Walsh Jennings, one half of (another) amazing kick-butt dynamic duo.
So what’s the secret to eating like an Olympian?
(1) Don’t Skip Breakfast. How many times does Mom have to tell you? They recommend something that will enter your blood stream relatively quickly like toast or a bagel. I’m not a big first-thing-in-the-morning eater, but many nutritionists recommend getting something with nutritional value (coffee does not count) on your stomach within 30 minutes of waking in order to rev up the metabolic engine. I like to have a small cup of green smoothie which gives me good nutrients and some protein. Plus, it’s so early, I’m not awake enough to notice the color. ;0)
(2) Stay Hydrated 24/7. Many times I’ve heard it said, if you wait until you’re thirsty to drink, it’s too late. And – hey kids – if we wait too long to hydrate, our bodies will start telling us we’re hungry, not thirsty, and encourage us to eat in order to take in hydrating liquid via food. Typically, I’ll have two cups of coffee in the morning then water is my beverage the rest of the day. I use Mio and Crystal Light to liven up the flavor. LOVE the new Crystal Light “mocktail” flavors — appletini is awesome!
(3) Boosty Your Immunity by eating more of what Weight Watchers calls “power foods.” Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains. A variety of color and nutrients are recommended, paying attention to foods rich in anti-oxidants. I typically include a fruit serving at breakfast, a veggie and fruit at lunch, another veggie at dinner and a fruit at 3PM with some lean protein as a snack. Check! Got that one covered.
(4) Lift Some Iron. Who knew? Apparently women atheletes (and women in general) can often have iron deficiency. A good defense? A big ol’ spinach and strawberry salad! Get your iron and your antioxidants in one tasty shot. (I love this salad – so quick and easy, and with some Catalina dressing, completely yummy!)
(5) Plan Ahead. Hey, guess what? Olympic atheletes travel all over the world, and they still have to eat! Dexter and I talk a lot about how important planning ahead is to our success. We may not be able to anticipate every scenario, but we can certainly arm ourselves with information to make good choices. We can also pack a cooler.
(6) Don’t Diet. Well, duh. One of the things I love about Weight Watchers is that it starts with the basics of healthy nutrition then encourages every member to make it our own. That’s not a diet. That’s an approach to food that I can use every day to support my health and fitness goals.
(7) Crank Up the Carbs. Ok, this is where the athelete’s, particularly a runner’s fuel comes in. What’s important to note in this section is the quote, “You need to focus on your nutrition every day,” vs. attempting to over-correct for past mistakes or future needs once you’re in the red zone. And the red zone could be the night before race day or the night before weigh in. To reach my weight goals, I have to focus on my nutrition every day, not just the 24 to 48 hours before weigh in.
As a side note, throughout the article, Fitness Magazine refer to “carbs,” when they’re referencing grains (preferably whole grains). Fruits and vegetables are referenced separately. So when you see the word “carbs,” assume they mean some type of bread or grain-based food like oatmeal, quinoa, barley, etc.
(8) Finish Strong. Life lesson. ’nuff said.
(9) Recover Right. After a workout, have some quality carbs and protein to speed recovery and minimize soreness. I’m a fan of a banana and yogurt or cheese stick, myself. On a related note, when we get a bit off track, it’s good to have a recovery plan in mind for that, too. A “get back on track” dinner or ritual is a great thing to have pre-planned just in case last night’s dessert was a little bigger than expected. I usually try to put the day (and myself) to bed and start fresh in the morning. New day, no looking back.
(10) A Day In the Life. An Olympic Cyclist can consume over 3,000 calories in a day. Here’s the thing: they always know how much they’ve consumed. Awareness is an amazing thing. It is the tool that creates choice before consequences. Most days, I write down everything that I eat because the simple act of tracking makes me aware of what I’ve eaten. As a result, I tend to make better choices throughout the day.
Commit, Focus and Aim Forward
You know what we can achieve when we do that? Anything we want.
Why all the pictures of Kerri Walsh Jennings? KWJ turns 34 on August 15. She and Misty May competed in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. They’re probably ten years older than most of their opponents, and they’re still kicking butt and taking names. They went undefeated until just the other day.
You know what they’re doing? They’re committed to winning. They’re focused. They keep going. No matter what.
And they’re winning. Rock on Kerri Walsh and Misty May!
Wishing you an Olympically fantabulous day!