Learning from Olympians – Role Models for An Active Lifestyle and Proper Fueling
August 16, 2016
The following is an archived post
We’ve heard the stories of all of the Olympic athletes that eat huge meals and still manage to stay in great shape. How do they do it?Well, for one thing, at least during training season, it is their job to exercise. Many of us spend the majority of our time sitting still, burning very few calories. Olympic athletes spend the same amount of time each day doing seriously vigorous and intense exercise. In order to fuel all of that activity, they have to eat what may seem like huge amounts of food, but relative to their activity level, it is entirely appropriate. The key here is balance – of calories taken in to calories expended.
What can our kids and student athletes learn from Olympians aside from working hard and dreaming big?
They can learn to adjust eating according to activity level. In order to fuel their activities and keep their bodies in top shape, successful athletes adjust their diets according to their workout loads each day. On days where they train more, they eat more. Lighter workout days mean lighter meals. This makes sense for student athletes as well.
Also, athletes are active people in general, and not necessarily just when training. In addition to the sport in which they participate, athletes tend to be active in their recreational activities. Whether or not kids participate in organized sports or other physical activities, they can plan active recreation time, whether on their own or with friends. Adults need to support them in doing so. For example, children might need that suggestion from us to walk or bike somewhere with friends rather than getting a ride. Parents and caregivers may need to find a novel activity, like a climbing wall and take kids and friends do some indoor rock climbing!
In most cases, athletes love what they do. To be more like an Olympian, it is important for kids to find an activity they enjoy that involves more movement. When they enjoy exercise more, it is much more likely they will stick with it.