Have you ever wondered what routines high-performance athletes follow and how you could apply their discipline in your daily life? The point is not to copy exactly what an elite athlete does but to develop a routine that elevates you to your best self.

I am a morning person and I love routines. So, I am totally fascinated by the dedication and self-discipline that Olympians embody. But, following a rigid diet that involves counting grams of protein and carbs is not always fun for everyone.

The positive impact that certain habits have on our productivity is obvious. There is no question that Olympic athletes take their habits and routines very seriously. And, while we might not want to start setting our alarms for 4:15 a.m, we can start by adopting habits that help us become more productive on an everyday basis. Here are some of my favorite habits that I’ve learned from high-performance athletes.

Get the Kind of Rest You Need 

The day before a competition, American diver Kassidy Cook dives into an ice-filled tub to make sure her legs are fully rested and ready for when she hits the pool the next morning. Rest is essential. Just as Cook wants her legs to be relaxed for her most important dives, you want your mind to be as rested as possible for optimal productivity. That means listening to your body, getting enough sleep each night, and disconnecting from work.

Focus on Nutrients

World tennis champ Novac Djokovic has a very specific routine to start the day, and it goes like this: a large cup of water at room temperature; two tablespoons of honey; and a nutrient-rich breakfast consisting organic granola or oatmeal made with nuts, seeds, fruit, coconut oil, and plant-based milk or coconut water. You too can adopt a comprehensive and healthful nutrition plan that will keep you satisfied throughout the day.

Get Quality Sleepy

While we might not have the same sleeping situation as Michael Phelps, who sleeps in a room at a special altitude to reach his full potential, we can still aspire to quality sleep in other, more realistic ways. We can make sure our bedroom is as dark and cool as possible, keeping electronic devices away from the bed, or out of the bedroom entirely, and try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Voila! Sleep and repair your body like an Olympian!

Keep a Record

Like most professional athletes, Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge worries about sleep: going to bed at 9 p.m. and taking an hour-long nap every day is mandatory, but that’s not all this high-performance runner does. He keeps a training log of all his workouts and races, so that when it’s time to compete, he can look back and know he’s done it all already. Doing this will give you the confidence to show up and get things done.

Keep a record of your achievements, career goals, victories, and failures. Take note of everything; think about where you want to be in five years and the kind of feedback you received on your last evaluation at work or school. Looking back and seeing all the effort put towards a certain goal helps us remember why we’re putting in so much work.

Don’t Take Things So Seriously

Unlike her counterparts, gymnast Simon Biles has a more laid-back demeanor. Even before a competition, she smiles as if it comes naturally. Once, in Glasgow, during the 2015 World Championships, Simon Biles fought to get some free time for the coaches and the team, and she was able to pull it off!

This Olympic champion reminds us not to take everything so seriously. A life of only work and stress, without any rewards or moments of fun, can wreak havoc on our productivity as well as our physical and mental health. We can take breaks from our responsibilities like going out for a short walk near the office or doing stretching exercises for 15 minutes every few hours when we’re in front of the computer.

In conclusion, Olympians are the best of the best, the crème de la crème. But even if you’re not competing in Tokyo, that doesn’t mean that a disciplined routine can’t be useful for you as well.

What each of these athletes has in common (in addition to sky-high fitness levels and a super goal-oriented outlook) is that they have found what works best for them. You don’t have to wake up in early the morning and get into sub-zero water. But there are several things that you can learn from these athletes that can be adapted to your lifestyle. This will help you make the most of your days. 

The point is not to copy what these elite athletes do but develop a routine that prioritizes treating your body in the best possible way. And because we’re all different, your ritual should also be completely unique. Remember that in the end, it’s all about adopting habits that help you be your best self.



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