A fun fact about me: my sister has an olympic gold medal.
I guess that is not technically about me, but it does up my credibility as a cool person. Not many people can say their sibling is an Olympian and all around stud athlete. She has quite the resume:
And the list goes on, but I’ll stop there.
Needless to say, I am one proud sister.
In the spirit of the Olympics, I thought I would have her do a guest blog for me on a topic in which she is well-versed and an expert. Fitness.
Many of you have asked me to share ideas on how to improve your fitness. You may be a working mom and have little time to make for yourself, especially for hitting the gym. You want the most efficient and effective workout possible, and one to which you will stay committed. You may be a busy professional that travels most days during the week so you can’t work out with a trainer consistently, but you have some big health goals you want to accomplish. You may want to improve your tennis game so you can make it to the championship in your recreational league. Or you may want to improve your fitness so you can lose weight and prevent long term diseases.
Whatever your goal may be, improving fitness is something most of us desire at some point in our lives. Mainly because it is good for us, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Plus we tend to have a natural drive as humans to compete, even if it is small or just with ourselves.
Below, Catherine (Whitehill is her last name if you want to look her up!) shares how she improved her fitness so she could achieve her big goal, winning an Olympic gold medal, and ideas on how you can do the same.
One of the most important aspects of fitness I learned while training for the Olympics is I needed variety in my routine. I knew I was good at anaerobic fitness (the short bursts of sprints kind of fitness). I could do it in my sleep and pass any anaerobic fitness test that was thrown my way. But when it came to aerobic fitness (long bouts of sustained exercise like long runs, bike rides, swim workouts), I really struggled. For instance we had a test called the beep test. The cones are set up about 22 meters apart and there is a recording that plays the “beep” and every time you hear that beep, you need to be at the next cone. As you keep running, the beeps get faster, and when you have missed two cones, you are out. You just run and run and run until you finally miss. That fitness test was a challenge for me for a very long time.
I then learned about variety. I could no longer completely rely only on my strengths, I had to improve on my weaknesses to become a more complete soccer player. Though my position (center-back) mainly required that I be fit for explosive sprints, I still needed to be aerobically fit so I could keep the same speed I started with in the first minute of the game until that last 90th minute.
Encouragement: To keep enhancing your strength and fitness, try something different. If you really love that spin class, add one day of running into your routine. It will help build your leg strength so you can go a little faster and/or longer next time you are on the bike. Challenge yourself. Run 1 or 2 minutes longer than you did last week. Try a new yoga class. Add a few sets of push ups to your normal workout.
Being the competitive athlete I am, I need to win every competition. It is just in my blood. For instance, I have zero desire to run a marathon because I know I won’t win, that’s how strong my competitive spirit is!
I realized as I tried to worked out on my own, my scores in fitness were not improving. Yet, when I worked out with my teammates or even my husband, I saw improvements every day in my speed, strength, and agility. Working out with a partner pushed me to my absolute max. Sure, there were days that I didn’t finish first (not my favorite days!), but ultimately I won because it helped me get to the next level of fitness, which I needed to compete in the Olympics.
Encouragement: Find a workout partner. Having someone push you beyond your perceived limitations can take you to new levels, not only in fitness, but in your confidence in all areas of life. You never know what you are capable of doing until you are challenged! An added bonus: it will help you stick to your goals. It will encourage you to get out of bed in the morning or go outside in the hot summer weather because someone is waiting on you. Plus it is just way more fun to workout with a friend!
I absolutely love playing soccer, watching soccer, coaching soccer, and commentating on soccer. If soccer is on tv, I am watching it. If there is a pick-up soccer game, I am playing it. I love workouts that improve my soccer game. I enjoy lifting weights mixed with sprint or stadium runs. I want to be on my hands and knees absolutely exhausted, out of breath, without a dry spot on my shirt from all the sweat.
On the other hand, I do not love running long distance. I have tried hard to love it, but I just can’t muster up the desire to run 10 miles every weekend (unless I was running after a soccer ball). I watch people run for hours and come home exhilarated, yet I am bored after the first ten minutes.
I have found in all my years of fitness training, you have to do what you love or you won’t do it at all.
Encouragement: We all enjoy different types of fitness. Find one that you love and go after it! It could be a barre workout. It could be swimming. Or it could be walking the track while your kids are at soccer practice. When you love what you are doing, you don’t see it as a boring exercise routine. Instead it gives you life. It helps you become the best version of yourself. In turn you inspire others to be the best version of themselves. The love spreads!
Standing on that first podium, singing the national anthem at the top of my lungs, and wearing a gold medal around my neck at the Olympics was one of the best moments of my life. It was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears of working hard to improve my fitness.
Hiking that 14,000 foot mountain, finishing that 5K, or winning that big tennis tournament will make you feel the same way. It makes those hard, challenging workouts on days you just want to stay in bed worth every minute!
We want to help you achieve those big goals so Catherine and I are teaming up on a few special fitness and nutrition collaborations in the near future. Think Olympic style fitness with Olympic style nutrition programs. Excited?! We are too.