Sharing Olympic strength

Let’s just get this out of the way up front: I was completely jealous of The Biggest Loser contestants on last night’s episode. If you’re a sports fan how could you not? They spent a week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, meeting athletes, coaches, trainers, nutritionists — the whole lot that goes into preparing America’s best athletes for the Winter Games, arriving in just two days. I mean, really, how cool is that?

And yet, the contestants were terribly worried about what would happen on the scale at the weekly weigh-in. Despite living in an elite athletic facility for a week, their schedules were off and apparently they didn’t work out as much as they would back on the comfort of the ranch. Food was also a concern because while everything was healthy, different athletes and different sports require different types of nutritional needs presenting The Biggest Loser gang with options they would not necessarily have on the ranch.

As we learned early in the show, athletes at the training center eat anywhere from 1,600 calories a day to 8,000 calories a day. Some athletes are trying to maintain weight. Some have intense workouts and need the extra carbohydrate load. Some are actually attempting to gain weight. Remember the stories about how many calories Michael Phelps ate during his training? Yeah, in some regards, Olympic athletes are good role models but not necessarily the people from whom you want to model your eating habits.

The interesting dynamic during the show came when several Olympic athletes became “guest trainers” during workouts. Each one asked if the contestants needed a break, seemingly afraid of pushing them too hard. Each time, Bob and Jillian told them to drive the workout harder. Cruel? At times, yes. But one of the lessons they’re teaching is that we all (wether we’re obese and dealing with medical issues or healthy and relatively stable) are stronger than we think we are. We all can do more than we give ourselves credit for.

The Olympic athletes, they understand this idea. It’s what brought them to the Olympic training center in the first place. It’s why we love the Games — because we can put aside our cynical nature for a few minutes and feel what it’s like to dream and to achieve.

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~ by amymoritz on February 10, 2010.

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