Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Michael Phelps Won 8 Gold Medals

While I don’t know Michael’s exact training strategy and haven’t met him personally, I am pretty confident I know some things that helped him win 8 gold medals, and they are the same strategies you can use to get Red Carpet Ready.

1. He decided. That’s right. He made a very clear decision that he would win 8 gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing. I feel confident saying, he probably wrote this down somewhere. Then he held that vision very clearly in his minds eye and did not waver from his goal.

Here’s what you can do:

Decide right now to get fit or more fit. Take some immediate action so you can get some energy behind your decision. This could be something simple like a kitchen purge and restock or buying new workout shoes or a pair of Valslides.

2. He told everyone about it. Accountability is a powerful thing and telling everyone about your plan is like giving them your word. Michael told his plan to the world; it was announced through every form of media. Once he did this, I don’t think he ever considered missing a workout.

Here’s what you can do:

Tell your friends and family you are starting a new program and you would like their support. You could also start a blog (I have seen this be very effective for people) or you can join an online community. To find out about the Red Carpet Ready club go to www.redcarpetready.com/blog

3. He put forth the effort. It is hard for me to imagine that this young guy blew off workouts because he wasn’t in the mood, he was tired, busy or hung over. You might want to argue that swimming is Michael’s job. He’s an athlete and his job is to be fit. Newsflash: “Swimming and being fit is his job because he put the effort in.” His amazing god given talent would have meant nothing had he chose to miss practice and play video games.

Here’s what you can do:

Make your workouts non-negotiable. Schedule them in your calendar like any other important appointment. Ideally first thing in the morning. Implement the 10-minute rule. No matter how bad you feel or how busy you are, you will do at least 10 minutes. Chances are you will complete the workout. Crank up the intensity. You will not achieve a Red Carpet Ready body if your whole workout consists of walking or doing a workout that does not challenge you.

4. Recognize that recovery is important. Michael Phelps has someone measuring, testing and analyzing anything that can be analyzed. 3 minutes after Phelps’ race, someone will prick his ear with a needle and that blood will be measured to see how much lactic acid is in his system and he will swim slowly until it has dropped to an acceptable level. The coaches know how much to push him, how much sleep he needs and when he should start tapering his swims before a meet.

Here’s what you can do:

While you may not have a team of people looking after you, you can take one full day off each week. Build in some kind of soft tissue work. This could be massage or foam rolling. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Don’t eat junk food. Fuel your body with lean protein and veggies. Don’t’ forget to hydrate.

It is true that Michael Phelps was incredibly blessed. His body was built for speed. He has come of age during a time of advancement in training and equipment technology and he has the ability to turn off the outside world when necessary. Talent and blessing, however, are never enough. It is effort that brings forth the rewards. The way to your best body lies in your decision to have it and the effort you are willing to put into it. You have it in you. Dig a little deeper. The rewards are on the other side of effort and it’s not just the great body you will have. The latest magic potion or exercise pill will NOT give you the same as what you’ll get when you work for your goal. You might have to trust me on this in the beginning but you will thank me later!


Gráinne said...

Thanks for that Val. Some of those points really hit home. Had actually been thinking about accountability since you did my assessment over on the Red Carpet Ready blog. Telling me to e-mail you in 3 weeks immediately made me feel accountable and much more conscious of what I was doing! Makes a big difference. I definitely feel more focused and goal-orientated now.

I also really liked that you emphasised the importance of recovery. I tend to forget to do it properly and feel like I should be doing something else! Also end up going to bed later than I should etc. and know that doesn't help. Had already booked a sports massage for tomorrow...now feel entirely justified. I'm just following instructions :-) I'm going to make much more of an effort to care for my body...as well as pushing it to perform.

Thank you!

Kelly O said...

Hi Val! I've been so meaning to come here and comment for a long time - but business has kept me traveling like crazy! I wanted to tell you that I completed my Red Carpet Ready 6-week program and was BLOWN AWAY by these workouts. I will be doing them FOREVER. They really are changing my body and I have "amped them up" now as I get stronger - I go a bit longer now too and regularly burn 1200 calories! I have been sharing with everyone about your incredible workouts on my blog - and I am always getting questions, just want you to know that I'm recommending this whenever I can. I LOVE the workouts and I love how I can customize them as I get better and progress and I LOVE how I can do this when I travel!! It is awesome!!

Keep up the great work!!! You are awesome!!

Kelly O