Obsessed with the Olympics

2016 OlympicsI was asked if I liked watching the Olympics strictly for the competitiveness of it and actually, I have to say that might be the least of my reasons – I’m obsessed with the Olympics. If it were socially acceptable and my kids (and husband for that matter) were self sufficient, I would lock myself away in front of several large screen tv’s and immerse myself in superior athleticism and mental acuity.

For me, it’s not even so much about the winners but the pure sport of each event; the appreciation and awe of these amazing human beings and most of all, the human spirit at its absolute best.

What does it take to become an Olympian? Most start training 4 years before the next Olympics. It’s a well thought out, precise and periodized plan that aims to build the individual’s athletic abilities with the goal to have them be at their absolute peak performance right at the time of the games. Being an Olympian is a full time career. It takes many sacrifices – no junkfood, no late nights with friends and strict regimented practices. Some even move away from friends or family in order to train at better facilities or with specific coaches. And finally, the road is paved with numerous competitions and events leading up to the Olympics.

Most Olympians will train 5-7 days a week, 3- 9 hours a day depending on where in their training they are. Training will include cardio, stretching, weight training, core work, balance, plyometric drills, speed and/or power training and of course sport- specific skills.  But wait there’s more, Olympians also need much more rest than us average folk in order to completely recover from the physical demands. Their diet (what, when and how much food) is a science of its own. Finally, there’s the mental training – some would say THE most important aspect of training. These Olympians perform under the pressures of different country; time zone; food; people; language; media, media, media and then their competitors. Techniques, such as visualization and strategy are other aspects employed by Olympians and other athletes alike. Now, add to all this, a part or full time job (training is expensive) and possibly a spouse and kids to the mix. I’m already impressed before I even see these athletes perform.

Understanding the tremendous amount of physical and mental training involved to get to this elite level gives one a greater appreciation for these Olympians. All of this is what fascinates me about watching these remarkable people breaking the boundaries of human potential and testing the strength of the human spirit.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."

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