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Fitness Lessons from the Olympics

The Olympic Opening Ceremony starts on Saturday. Already there has been plenty of media about the Olympics though mostly focussed on the dangers of living in Rio de Janeiro.

Most of us will never swim 1500m in under 15 minutes, run one kilometre in under 3 minutes or lift 150kg above our head. But being a sports crazed nation the excitement of seeing someone achieve these feats keeps us watching. So what can we understand from these Athletes that will inspire and motivate us?

1. First off, a reality check: There's no magic bullet for fitness!

We will hear many stories about the natural abilities of athletes, many with genes that make them gifted or freaks depending on your perspective. But even these Athletes do not get to escape the need to train.

Many people want to understand the diets or sports science to achieve the Olympic level of fitness and results. Though even with this behind them every competitor still needs to have learned determination and the need to train regularly.

For us Athletes of average ability even we need to understand the need to train consistently. To achieve a level of fitness for any level requires the consistency to train.

2. But you don't have to work that hard.

Olympic Athletes have access to great facilities along with the support of elite level scientists enabling them to train for many hours each day. But many experts agree exercising for thirty minutes more days in a week than you don't has a great outcome.

Getting your body moving, lifting to help keep your strength, getting your heart pumping so this muscle stays strong, is essential for good health. Doing this regularly over an extended period if you want to lose five kilograms is needed. If you do want to get buff or gain kilograms of muscle you will need to train harder, but you don't need to exercise for two to three hours a day.

3. It helps to focus on a goal.

Having a goal gives you a reason to get to the Gym, but more importantly seeing results that you are moving towards it is the best motivation. Your effort is being rewarded.

Athletes remain focussed on their goal and use this focus daily in their training. But they too have days when they don't want to train or commit to their goal, despite the huge rewards for them achieving it. Be sure your goal is SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and has a timeframe). Importantly be proud of your achievements. You don't have to build a podium at home, sharing your progress is admirable no matter how small you may feel it is.

4. Patience and perseverance pay off.

Reaching the Olympics takes years of practice. The new champion who has become an 'overnight success' is never exactly that, only to the eyes of media that have seen that competitor for the first time.

When we start to train often we do start to see results in the first few weeks. But the real win comes with perseverance. Slow and steady wins the race. Experts suggest losing 1-2kilograms a week. As you continue to exercise you will learn more about your own body, how to exercise and start to build a weekly routine that includes exercise. Gradually you will enjoy exercise more and more.

5. Everyone suffers setbacks.

We try to avoid injuries but they happen. We have days when we don't want to exercise but hopefully our routine will get us through. There will be times when we feel we're not making progress.

These days and moments are experienced by everyone. Don't let them kill your goal, it's never too late to get back into exercise.

6. You can do it.

We may not win a gold medal, you may not be interested in any of the sports. But watching the Olympics can give inspiration. We all have our own goals which put a smile on our face as we move towards them.

So watch the Olympics, but don't let them stop you from exercising.

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