Standing atop the awards podium is more than a dream for our Shaklee athletes—it’s a reality they’ve experienced many times. But is that the ultimate in life? “Not even close,” quipped Eli Bremer, Captain of the Shaklee Pure Performance Team. “Podiums are great, but they only represent what’s really important to the athletes: Working hard to fulfill a dream, sharing great experiences with others, and enjoying a journey that provides tools, skills, and perspectives for future conquests.” In other words, we can all stand atop the podiums in our life with a little passion and persistence. We asked several of our Shaklee athletes to comment on key performance topics that can help us all climb to the top. Here are their insights.
Performance Lesson #1: Dreams and passion matter.
Mary Whipple, Rowing, 2004 silver medal, 2008 gold medal, 2012 gold medal
Goals make dreams come true for me. Having a team to help keep me accountable in working toward my goals is how and why I became a three-time Games medalist. I use goals to set a time line so I can build confidence towards reaching my dreams. That way, no matter how big my dreams are, I know it’s only a matter of time, determination, and grit before I achieve them.
Courtney Mathewson, Water Polo, 2012 gold medal, 2016 gold medal
Find your passion, whatever it is that drives you, and use it as daily motivation to reach your long-term goals. In hard times, reflect on that fire and use it to reaffirm the path you’re on.
Performance Lesson #2: Setbacks? Bounce back up!
Allison Baver, Short Track Speed Skating, 2006, 2010 bronze medal, 2014
Do you want to be a champion? If so, realize that overcoming obstacles is critically important in the long push toward reaching your goals or dreams. Perseverance is critical to developing a winning attitude. Excellence is achieved through constant planning and overcoming your setbacks to reach your goals. In life and business, we must learn to roll with the punches. Setbacks are temporary, and sometimes necessary for learning and improving. I establish small goals and reward myself when I achieve them, especially during adversity. Remember to look inside yourself and give yourself permission to be a winner—step-by-step will get you there!
Caryn Davies, Rowing, 2004 silver medal, 2008 gold medal, 2012 gold medal
Obstacles and setbacks are a good opportunity to practice self-compassion. You can’t realistically perform at your peak every day; if you expect that of yourself, you will only get discouraged. Consider these outlooks:
- Don’t aim to have your best performance every day; merely aim to beat your average. If you can do that, you will consistently improve.
- When your performance falls short of expectations, don’t dwell on it. Figure out what you can do better next time, then put it behind you and move forward.
Early in my rowing career, I thought that I needed to “bring it” every day, putting too much pressure on myself to perform. As a result, I got very nervous before training sessions and I lost my confidence. My coach told me not to be so hard on myself. Once I understood that I needed to be kind to myself, I started enjoying training again, and I bounced back more readily from disappointing performances.
Performance Lesson #3: Fuel right to do right.
Emily Regan, Rowing, 2016 gold medal
Proper nutrition is essential to perform at your best. In endurance sports, it’s important to make sure you are always eating enough so that your body isn’t trying to perform at a calorie deficit. I try to focus on getting about 20 grams of protein every three hours throughout the day so that my muscles can recover from practice and be ready to perform again during our next session. I like to make a protein shake with Performance® Advanced Physique® 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein (I like chocolate) as an easy way to load up the calories and protein right after practice.
Performance Lesson #4: Training is only as good as your recovery.
Ismael Hernández, Modern Pentathlon, 2016 bronze medal
Performance improvements usually result from a balance between proper training and a consistent recovery routine. While the training creates the stress that the muscles need for improvement, it is the recovery when the body assimilates the workout. As an elite athlete, I realized that it wasn’t about just running faster than everyone else but also recovering smarter than everyone else. Having a balanced diet with a high content of antioxidants and constant hydration (as well as good sleep!) were the keys to feeling renewed every morning.
Remember, you don’t need to be in a race or competition to be a winner. Victory comes to those who strive, and strivers realize the podium is one step—not the final step—to victory.