London was buzzing with excitement this summer with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The endeavour, commitment and shear determination by some of the athletes had us on the edge of our seats and close to tears. But what of it’s ability to inspire us to do something different, to take on a new sport or simply look in the mirror and decide it was time to make a change? Laughing Larry spoke to our resident fitness and nutrition Coach, Ben Wilson, to ask whether the Olympics had worked it’s magic enough to inspire people into action. This is what our Guru had to say:
“To me inspiration means motivated into action. So the question really is have the games motivated you into action? If they haven’t encouraged you to do anything new then it is probably more accurate to say the games excited you over inspired you.
“If you are feeling that enthusiasm still then what can you do with it? An easy place to start is to pick one of the 26 sports from the Olympics. While you could join a running, swimming or cycling club you could just as easily go out today for a run, swim or cycle.
“The key is action, do something!! If joining a club is right for you then great, do it! If this seems too much of a stress then don’t join one and start doing some exercise on your own. Maybe later you will be ready to join a club.
“One of the big reasons people do not jump into action is the unhelpful thoughts of thinking you need to be good at something to do it. Forget this! The Olympics has two motto’s –
‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’
‘The Most Important things is not to win but to take part’
“These do not refer to any sort of performance levels. Simply they infer you should get fitter by doing something. Obvious right?
“To me anyone who does something, be it a 5km run for charity, a triathlon or simply a walk in the park with kids, is one step up on those that do nothing. You should be proud of your efforts of doing something in the face of easier options like TV or eating.
“When watching elite level sport the average arm chair critic forgets what they have done to get there. While they obviously have natural talent, they have had to nurture this talent by focusing on one event for 5-10 years plus of their life.
“The average person then worries about not being any good when they start their new sport. Take a reality check. The time to ask yourself if you are any good at your sport would be after two to three years of solid focused training in both fitness, technique and nutritional approach to sports development. Then you can see if you are any good. Almost every person would become a very solid athlete in whatever sport they choose if they take this comprehensive approach.
“For most people though, they do not have any intent on trying to become an Olympian. In that case, why are you worrying about being any good? Just do it!
“If your goal is to just get in shape, be it to have a stomach like Jessica Ennis or a physique of the sprinters then the take that Olympic inspiration and channel it into exercise and nutrition. These Olympics bodies are created through intelligent exercise, specific nutrition and consistency.
“The great thing is anyone can achieve a body like they have. I doubt you will be able to run as fast but it is a lot easier and more accessible to be in amazing shape than it is to get to the Olympics.
“However, the normal standard approach will produce normal to poor results. An Olympian body needs Olympian plan backed up by intelligent effort.”
Ben Wilson is a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist based in Clapham, London. He is also author of the book Change your Thinking, Change Your Shape.