Tips for elite success in fitness and life
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
Do you want to be more like your favourite member of Canada’s Olympic team in Sochi? Olympians are admirable in a lot of ways: they’re elite athletes, at the top of their game, and ambassadors for our fine and friendly country. They are dedicated to fitness in a way that many of us are not, and the secret to their success is hard work. But if you want to be more like an Olympian without all the focus, there are a few minor things you can do.
Despite the fact that the Olympics are sponsored by McDonalds and Coca-Cola, it’s safe to say that most Olympians don’t consume a lot of Fan Packs. Canadian figure skating silver-medalist Patrick Chan has told the Toronto Sun that he eats a primarily gluten-free and organic diet, and doesn’t spend too much time on the couch. Figure skater Meagan Duhamel eats a plant-based diet, and she told the Globe and Mail that she eats a smoothie every day with “spinach, beets, bananas, peanut butter, chia seeds, coconut milk, and cinnamon”—sounds like a winner! It seems like the fitness magazines aren’t joking around when they tout vegan and gluten-free whole foods. A diet rich in healthy goodness is part of what it took to get both Chan and Duhamel to Sochi.
And what about working out? Well, that all depends on the kind of sport, but figure skaters like Chan avoid weight training in favour of cardio, light resistance training, and core work like Pilates. Balance is a big deal for those who compete on the slopes and rinks alike. Lower body work is huge for speed skaters. And of course, many winter Olympians train by doing what they do best—their sport of choice. That’s why we’re in luck in beautiful British Columbia, the land of many snow-capped mountains.
The first several weeks of 2014 were unseasonably dry, but thanks to a few days of rain the coastal ski hills are loaded with snow and waiting for you to show up with your skis and snowboards. There are three options just a stone’s throw from the Lower Mainland, so if you’re looking for a way to be even more like a winter Olympian, then Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour are your buddies this month.
If extreme mountain sports are a tad out of your budget, a simple ice skating trek is a fun option. Enjoy a spin around the rink; because we hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver has high-quality skating infrastructure. Robson Square in downtown Vancouver has free ice skating every day—all you have to pay for is skate rentals. It’s open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (I recommend going late to avoid the kiddies), but it closes for the season on February 28, so get your skate on while you still can.
If none of that tickles your fancy then you’re in luck, because there’s one more thing that Olympians do to stay in shape and also blow off steam, and that’s bang each other like it’s going out of style. Reports from Sochi (and indeed reports from previous Games) say that casual sex definitely happens. And in 2014, this is helped along by social media hookup app Tinder, which, according to several reports, is being used extensively in the Olympic Village. Casual sex among Olympians makes perfect sense: a bunch of fit, hot, and youthful people in close quarters for a limited time? Sparks are bound to fly! Hey, it kind of reminds me of college.