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Olympics: An interview with John Rowley, trainer and health expert

As the Olympics are coming to a close, these tips could help you stay in the Olympic spirit and train like an athlete!

Certified personal trainer and national health and wellness expert, John Rowley.
courtesy of John Rowley

I had an opportunity to interview John Rowley, a certified personal trainer and health and wellness expert.

Cardiovascular, strength training and exercise tips to make the most of your workout:

Olympians train with a specific goal in mind and you should do the same. Is the goal to be world record holder for the 100 meters or to lose 10 or 20 lbs. If your goal is fitness and not to stand on the Olympic podium, you should organize your training to get fit. Strength training would be first in your workout for two reasons. You want to build muscle to super charge your metabolism, muscle burns calories even when you are at rest. The second reason is you will use up most of your glycogen (blood sugar) while doing your strength training so when you start doing your cardio you will start using your fat reserves for energy. If you do your cardio first, it will typically take 20 minutes to burn up your glycogen before you ever get to your fat stores. By organizing your gym time like this it is much more time efficient.

How to choose a balanced diet to maximize results:

What is the goal? Health and fitness? Then eat for your age or as I call it Decade Decadence. You can eat a lot of food and still lose fat and be healthy but you have to eat differently as we age. With each passing decade you need to be eating more lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats and less carbohydrates. You can be decadent with your nutrition you just need to base it on what decade you are in.

The best ways to build endurance and strength:

This is called specificity of training. You train for the goal. Just like an Olympian, if you are training for endurance, you would do the specific thing you were training for, for a long enough period of time. If you want endurance in running, you would run, swimming you would swim and for biking you would bike. The best way to build strength is with a sound resistance training routine.

Learning when to allow yourself to have a ‘rest day’ to allow your body to rejuvenate:

Back in the 60’s and 70’s Olympians were trained to a point of over training in many cases, but exercise science now shows that rest will make you stronger. You do not improve when you train. Your gains come while you rest and recover. The training breaks you down and the rest builds you up.

How to mentally prepare for failure and success as well as a tough workout:

Olympians realize that success and failure are two sides of the same coin. You must push yourself until you fail in order to improve. Runners call it hitting the wall. Each time a runner hits the wall or fails, the wall gets pushed further back. In order to succeed in a massive scale you must know that many times you must fail on a grand scale. This is one of the reasons athletes do so well in the business world. They do not fear failure they welcome it as the path to success.

Any additional Olympic-style tips you may have:

The Olympian does not specialize in generalities. They have one goal, one purpose and one focus. They put 100% of their energy into the event they are going after. Greatness in the Olympics, or in life, comes from the unwavering commitment to a worthy goal. Adapt the Olympians mind set and see your life change for the better both in and out of the gym.

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