In the midst of the frenzy surrounding the Vancouver Olympic Games, we asked ourselves some questions: what secrets do these great athletes hold that enable them to reach such high levels of performance? Paul Gagné, posturologist and physical trainer at Victoria Park, was kind enough to introduce us to the practices related to Olympic-level training. Here we go!
First Step: Evaluation
Evaluating the body’s physical state before beginning training is essential for highly-level athletes and especially for amateurs. Gagné explains: “The main cause for people to stop their training is injury. Thus, it’s really important to know where you stand before you start.” To avoid serious accidents, be sure to check out your body’s overall health, without forgetting to have your posture evaluated. The science of training is a lot more complex than we tend to think. Leave it in the hands of the experts to make proper assessments!
Let’s talk motivation
An individual’s enthusiasm for training depends on the reason why they’re exercising. ‘‘For the brain, the level of motivation is different when the training is for aesthetic reasons than when it’s for survival (for example, to keep your job, or to become fitter for health reasons),” explains the physical trainer. While the more critical motives help ensure more discipline and regular attendance, the aesthetic ones tend to lead to intermittent workouts.
For great athletes, physical preparation is a must, as is good nutrition—that’s why these athletes have high levels of motivation. With your trainer, determine your motives for training. Then, be attentive for the first six weeks, as these will reflect a lot about your long term motivation.
Pinpoint your objectives
It is essential to consider your schedule when you are planning to train, as to avoid unexpected circumstances and becoming discouraged. ‘‘Plan around uncertainties and schedule training that is less frequent and long than is ideally possible. Then, it will be easy for you to adapt to the routine,’’ explains Gagné. Believe in yourself: you can go far!
As a general rule, Olympians reassess their objectives every four years. Our training specialist works with Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, a ski mobiles athlete that represented us at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. She has been training with Gagné since she was fourteen to prepare little by little for this great challenge.
Interesting Fact: Gagné explains that ‘‘during the two months that follow the Olympic Games, there is a marked increase in the sports that were presented during the games.” Will this trend have an effect on you?