Like most kids, I’ve always been obsessed with the Olympics.
When I was 13 I planned my entire Bat Mitzvah celebration to be Olympic themed. Although I knew early on I never really had a chance to make it for Olympics, the Olympics always helped to remind me that I could always strive to be stronger, healthier, and never stop pushing myself. It wasn’t just about watching the events that enthralled me, but rather the stories that inspired.
As young adults now, it’s almost guaranteed we’re long passed the time since making the Olympics was a viable dream. And while we may not all be destined to be Olympians, we can still learn many incredible lessons from them. While watching some of Rio’s most incredible performances, here are some ways the games can spark your creative cuisine juices and inspire you to achieve your wellness goals.
1. Host an Olympic viewing party
Have everyone bring a dish representing a different country. Just like the dining hall at the Olympic village, which serves a vibrant mix of international dishes.
2. In honor of Rio, cook a Brazilian-style dinner
Brazilian cuisine is incredibly delicious!
3. When watching the Olympics, challenge yourself to be active the entire time
If watching Michael Phelp’s come in a three-way tie for Silver in the 100m Butterfly doesn’t have you up on your feet, what will? Try cheering on your feet, stretching, foam rolling, performing some core/ yoga exercises, jogging in place, and lifting small weights.
4. Think of your fuel as food
While we might not have the same nutritional needs as some professional athletes, start thinking of your food as fuel. This mindset will give you a more mindful approach to eating. Don’t rely just solely caloric information, as not all calories are created equal. For example, before you reach for your favorite junk food or candy bar think to yourself: will this fuel my body with energy and make me feel good?
If you are curious about what a daily diet for an Olympian may look like, check out this TIME article, which features the diets of two athletes: Seth Weil, a rower, and Shalane Flanagan, a long distance runner.
5. Try a new sport
Pick a new, unique sport you see during the Olympics and try it out one day with a friend. I was even inspired to refresh my ping pong skills again after watching two Chinese women go head-to-head in the finals of Table Tennis. Or how about synchronized swimming? Modern pentathlon? Badmitton? Who knows, this could be the start of your Olympic career. You are never to old to try a new sport!
Check out this complete list of sports at the Rio summer games!
6. Set some goals
Goal-setting is a key element to achieving success. Like an Olympian, try setting short-term and long-term fitness and wellness goals you want to achieve.
This could be exercising x times per week, cutting down on junk food, getting more sleep, learning a new sport, or completing a 5k or 10k road race in a certain time. For example, utilizing this goal-setting pyramid proposed by Australian Olympic freestyle skier Lydia Lassila is a great tool to outline your personal fitness goals of any type.
Brenda Martinez, a U.S. Olympic runner, also talks about how focusing on the process–splitting up the goal into smaller parts– allowed her to still make the Olympic team after losing her balance because a trailing runner tripped on her during Olympic Trials.
These are only 6 suggestions to help you kick-start your wellness and cuisine ambitions. The summer Olympics may only happen once every four years, but we can still look to Olympians to inspire us to achieve our fitness and lifestyle goals every day.