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A gold medal chance

As I fly to Athens to catch the last few days of the Olympics I am excited about the prospect of viewing exceptional athletes producing world beating performances.  Perhaps Bikele in the 5000m, Maurice Green in the 100m or Paul Tergat in the marathon will triumph and gain Olympic glory.

This starts me thinking... why does a guy like Paul Tergat, so often the bridesmaid, continue to train so hard over so many years that he has been involved.  He is a multimillionaire, has a world record, a couple of silver medals at the Olympics, numerous world titles.  Surely he must be tired of the 200km training weeks and hectic racing schedule.

Why does he continue to push himself and why is he back at his third Olympics?

The answer... he has a goal and that is to win gold at the Olympic Games.  He was brutally denied by a fraction of a second 4 years ago and he is back in order to achieve his goal.  In fact, no doubt all of the athletes at the Olympics have set goals, for some it was to make it there, for others it is to make a final or produce a medal winning performance.

The lesson... it is imperative that you have a goal (s) set to work towards and achieve.  The same is true in everyday life. 

Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, get fit, run a half marathon everyone needs to have a goal to strive for.  So what is a goal?

The important features of a goal are:

1.  Your goal must be written down.  If it is not written down it is a thought and not a goal.  Write it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly.
2.  Your goal must be realistic.  To win the Olympic gold medal for the marathon if you have never run one before is probably a tad unrealistic - and unlikely too because no country in their right mind will select you!
3.  Your goal must be achievable.  TO lose 20kg in 2 weeks is NOT achievable no matter what your size.  Set goals that you can achieve by displaying discipline and sticking to your training or nutritional plans.
4.  It must have a timeframe.  If you do not have a date to work towards then you will find it difficult to achieve your goals.  Are you going to lose 5kgs in 10 weeks or 10 years.  This is important in deciding the type of training that you will complete as well.

Set regular realistic goals and work towards them.  Break the goals down into short  medium and long term ambitions and you will find that you will achieve the goals that you set out to achieve.  Good luck in achieving your 'gold medal'.  


Nutritional Tips For Optimal Performance?

While we are on the subject of the Olympics, how do we ensure that our performance is optimal when the big day comes around.  We have done all the training to the best of our ability, however what else can we do?  Below are a couple of tips for 'race day' that apply not only to the elite athlete but to anyone that is looking to achieve their peak performance when it counts.

To achieve your goals on event day you need to plan your energy supply for during your sporting or physical performance and ensure that your energy stores are full beforehand.

Before the competition:
2-3hrs before the competition, an easy digestible, carbohydrate rich meal should be consumed.  This is to ensure that your carbohydrate stores are 'full' before commencement  One hour before the start an easily digestible sports bar or the like can also be consumed to aid the body in the early part of the sporting performance if required.  Obviously it is important to maintain your hydration levels right up until beginning competition, however small sips rather than long drinks are recommended immediately prior to exercise.

During competition:
Even during relatively short competitions it is important to drink enough.  Ideally an isotonic sports drink which provides the necessary supply of fluids, as well as minerals and carbohydrates should be consumed.  For endurance events eg.45minutes you should take up more concentrated energy e.g. energy gel.

After the competition:
This is the time when your carbohydrate stores need to be refilled, your muscles need to recover and you need to re-hydrate.  To achieve this your body requires a combination of carbohydrates and proteins.  Straight after competition an isotonic sports drink and carbohydrate / protein snack is recommended and then within the next 2 hrs a full meal with a combination of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and mineral is ideal

Stick to these general guidelines and not only will your performance be improved but so will your recovery and subsequent training.