new year motivation: train like a gb athlete

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GB skeleton athlete, Kimberley Murray, knows what it takes to be at the peak of physical fitness. Along with her ambition of representing her country at the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022, the Isle of Wight native runs her own personal training and coaching business, KimFit. Whilst on pre-season training in Lillehamme, we caught up with Kim to talk fitness and get some tips on how you can train like a professional athlete.

Athletes are the best in the world at what they do right? Being fit, strong, powerful, skilled… it’s their (my) job.They are essentially experts in the field of performance so why not take note of the behaviours the exhibit to give your health and fitness a little boost?

What am I talking about?

Athletes are genetically gifted, receive huge investments and have the privilege of training full-time. Well, I’m not going to lie, these factors are all very important. BUT there are a lot of basics that underpin the superhuman performances, and by adopting these behaviours you can supercharge your training too!

I’m going to kick off with a curveball. In order to achieve your health and fitness goals, rest (yes rest!) is key. You may or may not know but athletes love to sleep. This isn’t because we’re lazy, it’s because sleep is amazing for recovery. Our body adapts not when we are training; but when we are resting. Now an afternoon nap is probably not available to most people but some quality sleep is. Establish a bedtime routine, leave the phone in the lounge and get a good nights kip.

Next up, we’re going to get basic. Whatever exercise you choose to do (and just chose something you like rather than the latest fad) ensure you incorporate a suitable warm up and cool down as bookends to the session. Five to 10 minutes is plenty to prime your body for exercise and to stretch out afterwards. A warm up should increase you body temperature and prepare (or activate) the muscles you’re about to use. I always warm up, and the more thorough the warm up the better I perform in the session.

Time to mention nutrition and diet. Or not. I am going to scrap both those terms and speak about nourishment instead. What I put in my body serves to fuel every training session I do;  and it’s the same for you. Food is fuel and it can massively impact how you feel and perform. I do not restrict myself from eating any foods, nor do I count calories. I chose my meals and snacks based on how much I am training (expending), what I like to eat and how it will serve to nourish me. I’d implore you to find balance and do the same.

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Lastly, athletes will sacrifice an awful lot to achieve their dream. I have wanted to be an Olympian for as long as I can remember; it is what drives me to push myself and go beyond what I believe my limits to be. I make decisions based on how it will affect my performance and long term goal. Having these big, exciting goals helps keep me motivated when I am tired, or injured, or missing out on something.

I challenge you to set yourself a goal and write it down. And if I could be so bold whilst you’re thinking about your goal, I’d ask you to think beyond an aesthetic or number on the scales. Let’s embrace the movement away from body transformations and determining our self-value by the way we look. Forget summer bodies, let’s nourish and care for our bodies all year round; like an athlete. If we centre our goals around what our bodies can achieve and focus on health or performance rather than a clothes size then it’s more than likely that you’ll feel good and look good.

Main image courtesy of Neil Shearer Photograph

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