5 Lessons for Everyday Athletes from a U.S. Olympian
Becoming a U.S. Olympic athlete requires an extraordinary combination of talent and perseverance, but there are lessons to be learned from these competitors that can help propel everyday athletes to reach the top of their game.
Among the 2016 Team USA roster, there were countless stories of triumph such as that of U.S. Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva, who was named an alternate for Team USA before stepping in for an injured teammate. Leyva ultimately competed and went on to bring home two silver medals in the parallel bars and horizontal bar individual events during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Leyva knows what it takes to build a champion: a lifetime of determination and training, countless competitions and years of fueling his body with the right foods and beverages, like milk, which is packed with nine essential nutrients, including 8 grams of natural protein in each 8-ounce serving.
Even if your own athletic aspirations keep you closer to home, adopting the right mindset will help propel you to new heights in your athletic endeavors.
- Define your goals. In order to reach that pinnacle of success, you must know exactly what your end goal will be. Put it on paper and display it prominently so you are constantly reminded of the finish line. If you find yourself weary along the way, refocus your attention on the sense of victory that will come when you finally achieve success.
- Eat to win. A well-rounded and healthy diet is essential for any athlete, but ultimately it’s the right mix of nutrients that help them reach their peak. That includes protein, like the high-quality, natural protein in milk. In fact, U.S. Olympic Training Centers, where athletes are training at the highest level, serve tens of thousands of gallons of milk every year and nine out of 10 U.S Olympians said they drank milk while growing up.*
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always had milk in the morning,” Leyva said. “It’s an easy way to get protein and nutrients to help fuel my training, whether I am at home or at an international competition.”
- Dedicate the time. Top athletes know that champions are built, not born. That means putting in the time with training, practice and more practice to become the very best in their sport. For an everyday athlete, that may not mean dedicating hours each day to the cause, but it does mean making a serious commitment to bettering your game.
- Be prepared to overcome adversity. Elite athletes often find their road to the top scattered with bumps. Leyva is no exception; the alternate spot was a step away from the place on the Team USA roster he coveted. Sticking with his training and keeping his focus ensured he was ready to step up when the time came.
- Surround yourself with supporters. Very few successes in life are achieved alone. Create a team of supporters who motivate you to be your very best. This may include coaches and trainers, but also family members and friends who cheer you along your path to victory.
To learn more about the Milk Life campaign and watch exclusive behind-the-scenes videos of Team USA athletes, visit milklife.com/teamusa.
*Nine out of 10 finding based on 675 responses received from survey invitations sent to U.S. Olympians.