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4 Olympians Share Their Biggest Tips for Achieving Fitness Goals

Shape logo Shape 7/22/2021 Mary Anderson
Allyson Felix et al. posing for the camera: Getty Images © Provided by Shape Getty Images

Sun's out, gyms are back, and the time is right to rededicate to your fitness goals. To reach your peak performance in no time, steal a few tried-and-true pointers from Tokyo's standout Olympians.

Allyson Felix et al. posing for the camera: Their pointers will help you hit new PRs in no time. © Getty Images Their pointers will help you hit new PRs in no time.

Be Holistic About Cross Training

"Your whole body needs to work together for running," says Aliphine Tuliamuk, an Olympic marathoner and Tracksmith athlete. That means balancing your mileage with other critical pillars to truly flow: plyometrics, stretching, weight training, and flexibility drills. "One tip that is true for all runners is that it's better to run one fewer mile in your training and to spend that time on drills and stretching," she says. That's key for injury prevention in distance running, where "imbalance will come back to haunt you," says Tuliamuk. (Related: Why the Left Side of Your Body Is Weaker Than Your Right — and How to Fix It)

Focus On Hydration

It's simple: Being hydrated helps fend off fatigue. "I drink a glass of water in the morning first thing," says Kyra Condie, who will compete in the debut of Olympic rock climbing this summer. Condie sticks with water as she trains, but then adds electrolytes — a mix that includes salt and potassium — to her midday drink to replenish for the next workout. "It helps me retain my hydration." (See her in action: Watch Olympic Climber Kyra Condie Reach the Top of a Wall In Under 8 Seconds)

Put On Some Tunes

"Music is a huge motivator in helping me push through tough workouts," says gold medal–winning sprinter Allyson Felix, who pops in Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (Buy It, $279, amazon.com). "I have playlists and specific songs that I know will help me when I need that extra little push." Felix also uses podcasts as a mental wind-down as part of her post-workout recovery: "That's been a game changer for me."

Plan Ahead for Peak Strength

If summer riding, swimming, rowing — or any other outing — is your thing, try prioritizing strength gains in the winter so your muscles have more play time when your pursuit is in full swing. "During the winter, I do heavy lifting with low reps and near-maximum weight, then I do two months of endurance — like four sets of 40 reps with very low weight — so it's almost an aerobic workout," says Susan Francia, a champion rower. "By summer racing season, I do a combination of medium weights to maintain my strength."

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