Having just returned from a whirlwind week in Rio with Adidas for the Olympic Games, I am feeling super inspired by all the incredible athletes I met. Each one astounded me with their determination, ambition and drive to succeed. Their attitudes taught me some serious lessons for fitness, nutrition and life.
Never stop learning
Here are the four most important lessons I learned from the athletes competing in Rio:
Top athletes openly admit that they don’t know everything. They aren’t afraid to ask for help from others. That is exactly why it is vital for them to have a supportive team to aid them in their training. They are constantly striving to learn more about themselves, their bodies and their sport. This enables them to be the best, and it is something we can all learn from. Fitness and nutrition are completely personal to you. Our bodies, minds and lives change over time and we need to be open to change and constantly learning about how to be our healthiest, happiest selves.
Failure isn’t the end
It is just a stepping stone to the next stage in their journey. Ultimately, not everyone can win in the Olympics, despite years or gruelling training. Yet, this does not dishearten the athletes. They enjoy the journey in itself, the discipline of the sport and the process of becoming the best that they can be. It truly is the taking part that counts. We can apply this kind of commitment to so many areas of our lives, from our fitness journeys through to our careers. It is essential to have grit and determination, to never give up and to push on despite any hurdles that get in our way.
Success requires hard work
You can’t just stroll into the Olympics off the street and call yourself a world class athlete. That kind of title takes some serious grind. Olympians put in years and years of training in order to get to the top of their game. Whether you want to improve your health, transform your body or develop your career; hard work is what will bring you results.
Training is only half the battle
After discussions with the athletes, I found it extremely interesting to hear about how they support their training in a multitude of ways. An awful lot of time goes into injury prevention and mobility work, as well as reducing stress and ensuring that they get enough sleep. Nutrition is key, they fuel their performance with an abundance of foods and avoid cutting out any groups. And the most inspiring thing? The athletes focus on their performance, rather than their aesthetic. In reality, there is so much more to fitness than abs and a thigh gap. Instead of focusing solely on our appearances, lets take a leaf out of their book and focus on how we feel.
Read more about Zanna's Rio experience on her blog
Photo Credits: Guiga Pira for AdidasMore from the Journal