Train like an Olympian


As the Summer Olympics come closer and you pick your favorite competitors, have you ever wondered what it takes to train like an Olympian? 


As a former athlete I can tell you their training regimen is very similar to ours.


My years at the Olympic training center incorporated the same training tools the Air Force utilizes in Comprehensive Airman Fitness. My coach not only focused on my daily physical regimen, but we also incorporated mental training, social obligations and spiritual wellbeing. The success of your Air Force career and your ability to adapt and overcome daily challenges begins with you and your training regime. 


First and foremost, an athlete focuses on their area of expertise and a coach ensures they train to be at their top competitive shape. You should also train your body and mind to be at your best competitive shape. I tell my Airmen you never know when you will be notified of a tasking and where you will go, but being in shape and knowing your job well makes a big difference when you go down range.

As many of you can attest, deployments are not only tasking mentally and emotionally, but physically. The better you prepare your body, the better you are able to handle the long hours, the extreme temperatures, and the physical exhaustion you may experience. Also knowing your area of expertise is essential because you never know what job you will be placed at when you deploy. 


Weekly sessions with a psychiatrist to develop mental control is not uncommon for an athlete.  We were always trained that being a successful athlete required 90 percent mental strength and only 10 percent physical ability. I truly believed that statement as I faced many of my greatest challenges as a winner because I utilized my wit instead of strength.


During my time as an athlete the top athletes in my sport were from China. We quickly learned a majority of their initial training started with visualization versus actual physical training. I am sure many of you have experienced success just because your mind believed you could achieve your goal. I challenge you to write and develop a picture of what your goals are and watch as you come closer to your goal because you see it every day.


Any successful leader shows their appreciation to their staff, to the community and even to their beliefs by giving back. No one can be successful alone. My coach ensured we worked together and provided support and even the friendly banter that pushes each athlete on our team beyond their comfort zone.


We also were encouraged to volunteer within the community. Because of our efforts I saw how we inspired young athletes to strive for more, but also brought the community closer to our mission. I have never seen walls fall faster than a group of international athletes working together to achieve a goal.

Find your passion and give back. You will find yourself building new friendships and enjoying any community the military may send you and your family to.


Finally, no athlete can succeed unless they have a strong spiritual sense of wellbeing. Spiritual wellbeing is not just religious beliefs, it is your purpose and perspective of life. A great coach ensures their athletes have purpose and encourages strong self-worth.


The Air Force has the Core Values and the Airmen’s Creed; read them, take in their meaning, and see how you fit into the overall vision these words invoke. Anyone can become successful especially when they understand and incorporate their purpose in the overall vision of their organization.


So now you have the tools to be a great athlete. The first step is yours to take. Will you take it?