Chock-full of inspiring performances and jaw-dropping finishes, the (somewhat pricey) Olympic Games are nothing short of miraculous. Athletes achieve the impossible and test human limits time and time again, giving the world a reason to push the boundaries and set personal records of their own. Whether you’re an Olympic hopeful or are striving to reach your goal weight, everyone has something to work toward, and some simple health tips are always welcome.
In search of some great information, we thought it best to look to those who’ve been to (or at least close to) the Olympics. As virtual coaches through an app called Kurbo, a weight-loss program based on the Stanford Pediatric Obesity Program, these athletes shared their top health tips that anyone can use in their day-to-day lives. Check out what they had to say.
1. Find a purpose
If there’s one word to describe the Olympics, it’s “inspiring.” And what does a person need to be inspired? Purpose. More times than not, there’s something substantial behind an action. “I’ve found that having a purpose behind your running/training tends to increase your performance,” said Manteo Mitchell, 400 meter runner and Olympic medalist. “There will be tough days on the track. Your ‘purpose’ may not be the very thing that gets you through such days.” Set a purpose, and make it happen.
2. Set an alarm before bed
Sleeping in is nice, and a rarity for most. While it’s a welcome luxury once in a while, sleeping too late, too often can have some negative effects. If you’re sleeping until noon, it could be a sleep disorder, according to The Huffington Post. “Set an alarm before bed to help start each day on track,” said Hyleas Fountain, silver medal winner at the 2008 Games.
3. Experiment with smoothies
Incorporating smoothies into your day is an easy way to not only sneak fruits and vegetables into your diet, it’s also a great way to make your meals portable. “Smoothies are a refreshing way to add a lot of fruits and vegetables to your day! It is also a lot of fun to experiment with new fruits and veggies to find your perfect combination,” said Zoe Lombard, a U.S. handball athlete.
4. Avoid sugary drinks
In addition to doing some type of exercise each day, Jevon Hutchinson, an American track athlete, says that he stays away from sugary drinks. While such beverages can be tempting, especially when you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up or spike of caffeine, the long-term results are not worth it. Instead, find a more natural way to boost your energy, like taking a break from work to get some fresh air.
5. Drink a gallon of water a day
Planning out your snacks throughout the day is great, but it’s essential you stay hydrated, too. Mike Dellemann, a former skeleton athlete, says “Another critical factor to my health is I drink a lot of water every day. I strive for at least a gallon of water daily!” That might be too much for the average person, but it’s a good reminder to drink water throughout the day. Keeping a water bottle on hand wherever you go will ensure the habit sticks.
6. Get enough sleep every night
Melissa Gergel, a pole vault athlete who competed at the 2016 Olympic trials, recommends getting at least seven hours of sleep every night. “Not only does sleep aid in recovery and weight loss, but research shows that memory, learning, focus, and motivation are negatively affected by sleep loss,” Gergel said. No matter how busy of a week you’re having, skimping on sleep will inevitably catch up with you, so it’s important you don’t fall too far behind.