How to Train Like an Olympian — Even If You’re Not One

July 15, 2021

Athlete Training and Health experts, who coach athletes we will see compete for gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, offer tips anyone can use to up their game.


While many of the world’s elite athletes converge upon Tokyo, Japan, for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, the summer Olympics, all eyes will be on the incredible performances that these well-trained competitors can achieve. Whether you are training at the highest level like an Olympian—or are simply enjoying cheering them on from the comfort of your couch—we can all learn lessons in upping our own game from these incredible athletes’ dedication.


The sports performance experts at Athlete Training and Health know what it takes to train at levels that range from everyday health to elite feats of athleticism. During the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, they will be cheering on athletes who have strengthened and conditioned their bodies with expertise from Athlete Training and Health, including Kristie Mewis and Jane Campbell, who will compete on the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team; English Gardner, a track and field star on the U.S. Women’s Track and Field 4x100m relay team; Kelley Hurley and Courtney Hurley, who will compete on the U.S. Fencing Team; and Victoria Stambaugh, who competes for Puerto Rico in the sport of Taekwondo.


Chris Slocum, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and regional athletic performance director with Athlete Training and Health, works with Olympians who will compete in Tokyo. Slocum and fellow Athlete Training and Health coaches Blaine Schmidt and Mark Pryer — who have all trained clients to Olympic glory — offer these tips that athletes of all abilities and skill levels, can use to achieve any goal, whether that’s an Olympic gold medal or perhaps just losing those pandemic pounds:


Consistency, consistency, consistency.

Being an elite level athlete starts with being consistent in your training, your recovery and in your attention to your overall health, Slocum explained. “Whatever your goal is, doing what it takes to achieve that goal starts with consistency. For an average person, that means showing up to the gym every day and being consistent with your activity and your nutrition. Do the work,” he said.


Prioritize recovery.

While working out and training is an important component of building muscle and losing weight, recovery should be considered an important part of the process, too. “Sleep is one of the most underutilized recovery tools,” Slocum said. “The highest levels of testosterone production—a hormone that helps build muscle—occur during the REM stage of sleep. Because of this, it doesn't take long for poor sleep quality to cause lowering levels of the hormones you need.” Focusing on recovery also extends to how you fuel your body, Slocum said, with good nutrition and appropriate supplements, as well as excellent hydration, being key.


Track progress.

English Gardener, a track and field sprinter who specializes in the 100-meter dash, is an Athlete Training and Health client who will be competing this summer in Tokyo. She, like other elite athletes, carefully tracks her progress to best understand how her body is reacting, and works with the performance coaches at Athlete Training and Health to adjust her workouts accordingly. “For Olympic athletes and also the general population, we always start with an evaluation to get information on where they are in their performance, and then we reevaluate every three months,” Slocum said. “We train their programs up around these evaluation results, working to increase their strength, and then we’re able to see how they lose weight and progress through exercises.” Slocum stressed how individual the programs are not just for the elite athletes but also for the average person just trying to be at their best: “At Athlete Training and Health, our training programs are carefully pre-planned. We’re able to progress those based on your training history,” he said.


Work with specialists in athletic development.

Whether your goals are breaking world records or simply being able to dance to your favorite record, seek out strength and conditioning experts who specialize in athletic development, just as Olympic athletes do. Slocum and the other coaches at Athlete Training and Health have master’s degrees in fields of human sports performance, and are certified strength and conditioning specialists who work integrally with physicians, physical therapists, registered dietitians and other experts the athlete may need on his or her team. The sports performance expertise offered at Athlete Training and Health is an important part of the strength and conditioning of Olympic athletes competing in Tokyo—and also the high school athlete trying to make a team, a mom getting back to activity after a knee injury, a dad hoping to get healthy to improve his heart function, or that young professional with a dream to break her own personal best record. “Everyone can benefit from the science behind athletic development,” Slocum said.


Train your mind like any other muscle.

The importance of mindset and focus can’t be underestimated. “It’s easy for people to get distracted by things,” Slocum said. “But whether you really want to lose weight or go to the Olympics, the focus has to be consistent.” Slocum uses Taekwondo athlete Victoria Stambaugh as an example: “Her mindset is one of wanting to get better every day. During the one and a half or two hours we train together, she is focused in,” he said. “Kristie Mewis and Jane Campbell are the same; they are focused and ready to go, regardless of what else was going on in their lives. Once they had the vision and mindset, nothing could stop them.” Make the time you spend on your workout count, Slocum said, to benefit from your training, just like Olympians do.


What is your goal? Whether it’s losing the pandemic pounds, living in a healthier body, or even reaching the pinnacle of your sport, the certified, experienced experts at Athlete Training and Health have the expertise and a program tailored just for you.


Ready to unleash your inner ATHlete? Contact us to get started today.


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