Challenge: Training Like an Olympian

Canada flag-bearer Simon Whitfield


Let’s be honest, we’re all fired up about the London 2012 Olympics. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Olympics; it truly is the most monumental event for the whole world to behold. I see it as a corner stone of human civilization, as it brings all of the planet’s countries together to compete in various acts of human sport and competition. It is a symbol of peace, patriotism but also human spirit and potential.

In wake of these Olympics and to pay my respect for all the incredible athletes, I am going to attempt to train and live like an Olympic athlete for the duration of the games (until Sunday August, 2012).

Here is an example of British sprinter Christian Malcolm’s daily regiment (taken from

8am Wake up

8.15am Supplements. A glass of greens and a protein shake, along with a few Brazil nuts

8.30am Breakfast. A bowl of porridge plus bacon, spinach, onions and tomatoes cooked together. Peppermint tea.

Training tip A new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found a small dose of inorganic nitrate, abundant in spinach, improves the efficiency of the mitochondria in your cells, which means your muscles require less oxygen and can work harder for longer.

10.30am-12pm Morning training. 45 minutes of warm-up drills. Over 60 metres do high-knee runs, A skipsB skips and ankle work. This is to ensure the mechanics of your movement is perfect. Then it’s on to the main session…

1. Sprints

Sprint 30 metres as fast as you can. Rest for two minutes.
Sprint for 40 metres as fast as you can. Rest for two minutes
Sprint for 50 metres as fast as you can. That’s one set. Rest for three minutes then do four more.

Training tip Life might be a marathon not a sprint, but to boost your longevity, favour 26 metres over 26 miles. New research from Denmark found it’s intensity rather than duration of exercise that adds the biggest chunk of time to your lifespan: intense cyclists add 5.3 years more than gentle pedallers.

2. Overhead shot throws

Grab a medicine ball (or a 7kg shot-put, if you have one handy) and do five overhead throws backwards. Then five forwards. Then five backwards with a hop. Then five forwards with a hop.

12.05pm Post-workout super shake, containing protein, nuts, spinach, flaxseed, blueberries, blackberries, banana, almond butter and a dash of coconut oil.

Training tip A recent study published in the journal Diabetes found adding coconut oil to your diet helps to protect against insulin resistance and thus lowers your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes.

1pm Lunch. Chicken with rice, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, peppers and beans.

2pm-4pm Gym session. Cleans, single leg cleans, bench presses, single leg squats – lots of compound moves, working on explosive power, rather than building muscle mass: 12 sets of 2-3 reps. Taking on amino acids mixed with a scoop of liquid carbs and electrolytes throughout.

Training tip “Taking branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) during training you increase the release of anabolic (regenerative) hormones and reduce the amount of catabolic (degenerative) hormones,” says personal trainer Phil Learney.

4.05pm Down another super shake.

4.30pm Massage or a hot bath with Epsom salts.

5pm Afternoon snack. Handful of Brazil nuts and walnuts.

Training tip Researchers at the American Chemical Society recently discovered walnuts contain almost double the amount of antioxidants of any other nut.

7.30pm Dinner. Steak with rice and salad.

Training tip Choose brown rice over white to fortify your ticker. It contains components which combat the endocrine protein Angiotensin II, responsible for encouraging the hardening of arteries and high blood pressure, according to recent research from the Cardiovascular Research Center and Department of Physiology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, USA.

9pm Before bed protein shake. Whey protein with almonds and Brazil nuts.

10-11pm Bedtime. Nine or 10 hours kip is the minimum required for proper recovery.


 As much as I’d like to tell myself I could do that, there’s no possible way I can safely jump into such a routine. These are world-class athletes who have spent a lifetime working themselves to such an elite level. I want to push myself, but avoid injury, so I have customized my own daily regiment as follows:


6am: Wake-up

6:15am: Supplement Shake (Greens, Protein Powder, Hemp Seeds)

6:30-7:30am: Bike to Track Oval for Sprinting Training

Lolo Jones = Further Motivation

10 minute cycle
15 minute warm-up
30 minute sprints (30, 40, 50m)
15 minute cool-down cycle

Ice Shower

8:00am: Breakfast (4 eggs, spinach, lentils, green tea)

9:00am-5:00pm I will be at work, however will supplement several meals throughout the day

11:00am: Super Shake (Protein, almond butter, flaxseed, spinach, banana, blueberries, coconut oil)

2:00pm: Lunch (Chicken pasta salad with peppers, onions, and beans)

4:00pm: Super Shake, round 2

5:00pm: Pre-Workout Drink (Rivalus Complex 5)

6:00pm-8:00pm: Gym Session

Box Jumps
Single-leg Deadlifts

8:30pm: Protein Shake, Ice Bath

9:00pm: Dinner (Steak, quinoa, salad, milk)

10:00pm: Foam Rolling, Recovery, Reading

11:00pm: Bed (full 7 hours rest, but with a little luck, I’ll sneak in a power nap at work)


The Olympic Games a true test of human spirit, I will attempt to spend 2 weeks like these incredible Olympians spend decades of their lives. Of course, I will still give myself a little bit of “Usain Bolt” leeway on the weekends (see: Partying to Keep your Mind at Ease).


2 weeks of Olympic calibre training, can I hack it?

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