I don’t know about you but I’m really looking forward to the start of the Olympics this weekend. I often say to clients that there are lots of good training lessons to be learned from this great sporting event.
The value of setting goals is one of the most important training lessons from the Olympics. First of all you have to set long-term goals. Whether you are an Olympic athlete or an entrepreneur you have to build a career or a business that is sustainable.
You cannot build a business based on short-term goals and you cannot win an Olympic medal by following a 14-day training plan.
Yet this is the mistake I see people make with their health and fitness goals. Sometimes they want to go on a quick-fix diet in advance of a big event coming up. Trust me – this is the fastest way to kill your metabolism.
Any weight loss will likely be water retention and muscle. This short-term solution to your long-term problem will actually be your undoing
At the last Olympics, US swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time, leaving London with a career total of 22 medals over three trips to the Olympics. Here again there is another training lesson from the Olympics.
Following Beijing in 2008 Phelps lost his hunger for competition. You need a definite purpose, a ‘why’; it is hard to do things when you aren’t clear about why you’re doing them.
When you build a bigger ‘why’ or purpose, it is easier to think decisively and take the actions that you need for success. The success you desire will always be linked to your willingness to work consistently hard for it.
It wasn’t until the World Championships in 2011, when Phelps was beaten by his teammate Ryan Lochte in the 200 metres individual medley, that Phelps got serious again about his training. He went back to basics doing what needed to be done to win.
I feel many people get sidetracked by the shiny penny syndrome. You are in a queue and spot a shiny object on the ground nearby so you step out of the queue because it caught your eye sufficiently.
When you realise it was only a bit of shiny paper and nothing of value at all you subsequently find yourself now at the back of the queue.
The shiny penny, when it comes to weight loss, is the fat-loss shake or the gadget you wrap around your thighs. Forget these distractions and stick to the basics.
Anther training lesson from the Olympics and how the athletes train is that they build teams around themselves – they don’t achieves success on their own. They surround themselves with strength coaches, masseurs, therapists and family members to support them.
Setting up these kinds of support teams, be it in sport or business, is fundamental to success. The businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who at one stage was regarded as the second richest man in history, once said: “Take away my railroads, take away my factories, take away my money but leave me with my people and I’ll have it all back and more in six months.”
Find a mentor for your business, a personal trainer for your training and nutrition, massage therapist for prevention or repairs of injuries.
Like these Olympic athletes, do you have a plan? Is it written out on paper, with details of the success you desire and the methods and tasks that need to be completed to accomplish them?
The coaches at Rio 2016 will have designed plans aimed to ensure athletes reach their peak come game day; the workouts they complete a year from now will look very different to the ones they completed a month ago. Yet it is common for many people to keep exercising in the same classes, doing the same training programmes with no success to show for it.
The biggest training lesson we can learn from the Olympics is to take continuous action. Hard work, dedication and a willingness to overcome setbacks is what sets successful people apart.
Those who win at the Olympics or in life execute the basics well. They have a plan to get even one per cent better each day. Learn from them.