I love watching sports. Although I am not a fan of ball sports, I LOVE individual sports. Ok, i do love watching beach volleyball which counts as a team, ball-sport.
Anyways, there is something about individual sports that is really exciting. Just seeing someone in the olympics, standing at the starting line, thinking about all the work that went into that one day gives me chills. That one day which will determine if they win the gold, siver or bronze or just that one day that an individual gets to represent their country. It doesn't really matter for me who wins or loses when I am looking at someone in the olympics because I enjoy watching all individual pursuits.
What is so amazing about individual sports is that each athlete has to commit to their sport of choice. Yes, there might be other athletes around but each athlete is training only one body...their own body. Each athlete has a training threshold, each athlete has a pain threshold and each athlete is vulnerable to an injury. Each athlete has a coach and possibly a team. But in the end the coach trains each athlete and sees each athlete for his or her own individual strengths and weakness's.
I'm sure I'm not the only one that checks out the bodies of the athletes. Coming from an exercise physiology background, I absolutly love looking at bodies. I do find myself checking out the female bodies more than the male bodies (who needs an olympian when I have a Karel :)) because it is a body I can relate to.
I got to thinking about the many women (or men) watching the olympics and seeing the strong, toned, buff bodies of athletes. Oh yeah, the FAST bodies. All that individual effort transformed a body into a lean mean fighting machine and a gosh darn nice looking body.
Now, I wonder how many of those athletes are concerned about their body weight. Well, I'm sure the olympians are just like any individual and good food = successful performances and the body should be healthy and lean to avoid unnecessary body weight. However, I doubt these athletes got into the olympics thinking "I am going to run repeaters on the track at 110% max HR to lose 5 lbs" or "I'm going to swim 5 hours a day so I can have buff arms and a 6-pack of abs." I'm sure these athletes had a dream to be in the olympics and the body came with the training. Furthermore, the olympics isn't a yearly event. These athletes have been training for years just to reach the day to compete (and qualify) in the olympics.
So, with all this individual effort to train a body to make it to the olympics I wonder how many of these athletes read magazines of what other athletes are doing? "Coach, this runner is doing this workout, I think I will do this tomorrow" I don't think that would go so well with the coach of Lolo jones or natalie Coughlin. I assume that a 100 butterfly athlete is not doing the same workouts in and out of the pool as a 1500 meter swimmer. I am sure a track athlete is not doing the same workout as a marathon runner.
So, how does nutrition relate to this matter of reaching the final product?
Aside from wishing that we could have the arms of a rower, legs of a runner and abs of a gymnast, it would be hard to assume that good nutrition didn't play a part in transforming the bodies of the athletes. Sure these athletes may have great genetics but each athlete is different and each athlete is an individual.
It really concerns me that athletes (normal athletes like us) feel the need to focus on what others are eating. Athletes want to eat what the pro's eat or want to eat the latest and greatest sport product. It really concerns me when athletes come to me and ask me to tell them what to eat. I know I say it a lot but eating has to be concious. It takes work just like any training session but it is an individual effort. Given the right tools or right coach, the template can be formed. However, success and the final product, whether it be weight loss or performance gains, is an individual effort and as much as you may want it to happen over night, results don't happen over night. However, if you can truely recognize the changes and steps that are taken to reach your goal, I think you will find yourself getting to the final product a lot sooner than you had imagined.