Poll: Have the Olympics Inspired Your Workouts?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you're reading this red-eyed and fuzzy-minded, maybe you're like me and you've been staying up way too late each night glued to the Olympic coverage on TV. From swimming to volleyball to athletics to gymnastics, I've been watching all the sports I can each night.
It may be because I played three competitive sports as a kid and teen. It may be because I'm a fitness professional who's fascinated by what a well-trained body can accomplish. It may be because I simply want to cheer on my country. Whatever it is, we all have our own reasons for tuning in.
I stayed up late last week, all weekend long, and even last night, dazzled by what I saw. And when it came time to rise out of bed the next morning to work out, I noticed my approach was different than usual. This led me to wonder: Do the Olympics inspire you to exercise?
After watching swimming and running last week, I thought about all the training that went into these races for every Olympian: Hours a day for years on end got them all to that very moment. They had to push when they didn't want to. They had to tailor their diet and food choices to help them reach their goals. They had to exert willpower that was stronger than their excuses or doubts. Sure, for many Olympic athletes, training is the job, not the afterthought (the way it is for many of us). But they're not that different from us either. They set goals. They work hard to reach them. They have setbacks. They have good days and bad. And sometimes, they fail. But one thing that probably sets them apart (aside from killer genetics) is their consistency and their unyielding desire to do whatever it takes to reach their goal. And their unwillingness to let one mistake or failure keep them down.
Watching the Olympics has inspired me to work harder on myself. If they can train for 4-8 hours a day, surely I can manage the 1-2 hours needed to keep me at my optimal level of fitness, strength and balance. If they can give it their all, I can give my workouts my best effort, too, rather than just getting through them. Imagine the results we would all achieve if we treated exercise a little more like our jobs and a little less like something we couldn't wait to be over. Better yet, imagine how much fitter, stronger, faster and lighter you would be if you gave each workout your full attention and maximum effort. We may not be training for the Olympics, but we are training for LIFE, and that is no less important.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I pulled on my workout clothes, slipped on my running shoes, and ran my fastest 3 miles (to yoga class) that I've run in a long time. I thought about the inspiring Olympians who push it to their limits in every session and who break records and figured: Why not? Why jog when I can fly? And when Sunday (which is my long distance running day) came, I didn't do my usual workout procrastination, during which I wait all day long and keep putting off my long run. Instead, I set out first thing in the morning for my 11-mile training run. It was speedy and almost effortless—because I made up my mind that it would be. If I felt tired, I imagined myself as a world-class athlete who pushes through tiredness day in and day out, which helped me kick into another gear and continue running strong.
The truth is that we are all capable of great things—in our own ways. We can all reach personal goals and milestones. The key is to believe it's possible; to set your focus on the goal; and to be consistent and driven in your efforts. We might not measure up against the greatest athletes in the world. But we can all be our absolute best selves and set our own records. So why not choose to be great?
Have you been inspired by the Olympics? Has watching the Games affected your workouts, decreased your excuses, or motivated you to push harder?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: fitness olympics


BKIMBALL50: I'm disabled, too. I can't take five pounds on my hands. I can't stand up for a minute; but I enjoy the Olimpic Games. When I was in the school, since I was little, I was a very good runner. I remember those days...... great, great days. I was military and I had PT everyday at 4:00 AM in the morning. Report
I swim for exercise and am trying to update my breaststroke to match the champions. It is harder than it looks! Report
I'm a runner training for my first full marathon (ran the half in June). Watching the runners was so inspiring for me! Report
no the Olympics does not inspire me at all. But Nicole motivates me. Her friendly way of introducing herself at the beginning of her workouts - her pleasure that I have got to the end of the workout at the end, the encouragement on the way through. esp her 12 min core exercise video.What inspires me is seeing that I get practical benefits in activities of daily living from doing her core exercises. It inspires me to know the benefit i have gained and that if I keep doing them I will continue to get more benefit. Thanks Nicole Report
Yes. I am so proud of all our athletes. They definitely inspire me, especially our runners . We had some great female runners like Allyson Felix, and Carmelita Jeter. Our Olympians prove that with hard work & dedication you can accomplish your goals, and dreams. Report
They inspired me in college because I still had a chance to be there (in my mind). But at my age now, I know that it won't happen. But if I want to inspire myself I watch extreme makeover weightless edition. I'm not that big and I still have a lot of work to do to make my goal. If they can do it, I know I can. I don't have to work as hard as they do, but I do have to be consistent with my workouts and my diet. Report
The Summer (and sometimes Winter) Olympics of 2000, 2004 and 2008 had inspired me, during the nearly 12-year period that I had been a regular, fanatic recreational lap swimmer. Sadly, those days are gone, with an extremely lengthy-commute (and now job-shifted) job I've held since the last Olympics, and for which - in the current economy - I don't stop being grateful for.

Tack on an apartment that I've lived in for nearly 5 years, the act of living in which could function as an extreme sport in itself (high NYC rent but things always going wrong). Meanwhile, I'm FINALLY doing better at my job, and caretaking duties and a few other things. I've, obviously, had to take up yoga and various forms of mind-body exercise to help cope and improve--the latest live classes being in pilates.

I have a home yoga-pilates fusion practice that I innovated, which I call Serene Embodied Attuned Change ("S.E.A. Change" for short) a snarky take-off on Tara Stiles' Slim Calm Sexy absolutist-sounding title There are no guarantees one gets any kind of slim from any kind of exercise ....I can attribute my slight dip in weight in 2010 to my lettuce binges and some support from Spark, natch.

SO, regaining about 19 pounds of an original more than 80 that I'd had as a young adult, that I've kept off since 2003 (in between, and inspired by, two Summer Olympics); should count for something in the long-range scheme of things ...

We ARE talking long-range ... I hope ... hoping nothing's changed about SparkPeople, just 'cause there's an Olympics on the calendar ... lol Report
No they have no inspired my workouts.
Only God has inspired my workouts because
i have been praying, and the fasct that i have 6 to 7 more LBS
to lose then i will be at one of my goal weights
and will be maintaining it for a while has inspired me. Report
I haven't been watching - not that I don't want to, my tv reception is the issue. They certainly are inspiring, I think thinking like an athlete is a great approach, one I'm going to have to adopt. Report
The Olympics have inspired me, they have made me itch to get back in the pool. The grace and solitude I used to love so much has been missing from my life and I want it back. I've packed my gym bag and bought a new swimming cap. My goal is to go at least once per week and build on my endurance looking to try open water swimming in the future.

I think their bodies are inspiration enough...oh how I'd love to have my figure like Sophie Hitchon! Report
No , I do not stayed glued to a TV. I wish them the best. But , being glued to a TV is not the life for me , as I am busy living my own life. Report
what's the "Olympics" !!!!!

(obviously, they have not inspired me!) Report
Yes! I love watching the amazing Olympic athletes! I see what they can do and it inspires me to get up and get moving. Report
I have been mesmerized by the Olympics - London will make history in so very many ways. Inspired that women are so prominent.
Major drawback has been the long hours. I am tired from staying up late & since my gym doesn't have TVs, I've missed workouts to watch.
But it has me setting personal goals to train for the Senior Olympics once the games end.
Then on to RIO! Report
BKIMBALL50, maybe you need to watch the Paralympics then. They start on August 29th. Also competing in the regular Olympics is Oscar Pistorius from South Africa. Both his legs were amputated when he was 8 years old and he runs the 400m on blades. I think he is entered into the Mens 4x400 relay as well. You can Google him and see what you come up with. Depending on the nature of the disability, you can't let it limit you. Go for it! Report
I live in London so I was able to watch quite a lot Live and a bit more to 'catch up' online on the BBC website.

I was MAJORLY inspired by the blind Korean guy who won the gold medal in Archery. Brilliant! If he can do it (shooting from 70 metres away and pulling the highest scores) when he can barely see what's in front of him, I can too so I've finally decided to take up archery. I've always wanted to do it but being so near-sighted I didn't think I'd be any good... Report
I have not been watching the Olympics, because after a full day's work and dinner, I am too tired to watch them on TV. I do see some clips on the morning news before heading to work. Report
I find they always inspire my workouts. I'm crazy about the olympics and if I'm busy during the day, I watch them through the evening and night. I don't work, so can stay up late. Report
Seriously! Being disabled colors everything I do. Although I am trying to adopt healthy eating habits and incorporate more stretching and short intervals of walking, watching the Olympics causes me to be depressed and searching the internet for ANYONE who will deliver cake.... Report
As a lifelong swimmer and collegiate water polo player who has dreamed of the olympics for as long as I can remember, I have had to change how I look watch them, as my water polo career has come to an end. But today I was inspired to start training for a new sport which I have never taken seriously; Open Water Swimming! more physical than pool swimming, with an endurance element that lends itself to long polo matches, im excited to start swimming again for the first time in a long time!! if anyone has any open water training regimens to share let me know! Report
yes, and no too. tells me I should be doing something besides sitting on the couch watching all these amazing athletes but I am also totally non-athletic and uncoordinated and could not begin to do the things that they do.
I would not want to spend my entire life practicing for an event that only 3 people in the world can get a medal in each event. Report
I marvel at the accomplishments of each olympian and I marvel at my own progress. From desk potato to disciplined....dare I say athlete!!! Yes, I can do more than I ever imagined and am continuing to learn as I go! Report
Yes the games have inspired me to work that little bit harder. I love watching people perform to the best of their ability, all that training over so many years. Makes me feel that I can at least do my bit. Report
Ohhh yes they have. For me, watching them makes me realize I can work harder. I will never be what they are, but I can be the best "Me!" I have added a little extra mileage to my runs and increased my times. I have added more routine weight training, instead of haphazard or "when I felt like it"...which doesn't get it done. Good Health requires disciple: spiritually, mentally, and physically. Good habits=Good health. I find the Olympics very inspiring! Report
Watching the Olympics sure does have me inspired, BUT I'm too tired from staying up late to do much about it. Did get in a bike ride on Tuesday with not having to walk any of the hills. Yeah for me. Had to re-evaluate my exercise goals due to ongoing knee pain. 80 mile bike ride killed my knee last September. So now instead of going for distance, am going to work on intensity. I have two hills in the area that I can't ride up. Want to make it my goal to ride up them by the end of fall. Report
I wouldn't say they are inspiring my exercise routine because they are the best of the best and I know I will never be them. It's awesome to watch how great they are and all they have accomplished. They work so hard and do so well. Not everyone can do that. You just have to do what YOUR body can do.

I was on a roll and then got two days of migraines and nausea. I just take it day to day and try to motivate myself to make it through that way.

I'll still watch, though.

rumbamel Report
Not really. I enjoy watching them, but have no desire to emulate them. I have always enjoyed physical exercise, especially hiking and swimming, but I am not very coordinated, nor competitive. I admire their dedication and willingness to sacrifice other parts of their lives in pursuit of single minded excellence, but I prefer a more varied life. So yes, I admire them, but no they do not inspire me because they are not my role models. Report
I'm inspired by their dedication, determination & perseverance, but will that make me work harder... probably not! Report
No, not too keen on watching the elitist of the elites do the only thing they know how to do - The Olympics has become a little boring to watch. Sorry.
I'd rather be out there doing something myself. Report
You bet I'm inspired. I'm 70, feel great, energetic! I actually fell asleep last night around midnight watching the Olympics! Woke up at 1:30am to go to bed. It was long day, been up since 4 am.. As a young person, I played competitive volleyball & fast-pitch softball. I played slow-pitch softball age 30-45, had 2 more boys during that time plus worked FT As ER nurse. I retired from nursing after 47 years, last 37 yrs as trauma nurse. I'm in "training" now to Hike the Appalachian Trail in 2014 or 2015. Hoping 2 sons & 2 grandsons will hike it w/ me! Report
No, the Olympics have not inspired my workouts; however, there are some in the gym who seem to be vicariously participating. I am actually more inspired by those around me than those on TV. Report
I'm just not that keen on them Report
Yes I truly have been inspired by the atheletes. Their determination and strength is so amazing. I do have to say I have become more active. Report
Yes, I am definitely inspired. I've been doing more and better exercise, with more "heart" since I've been watching the Olympics. Report
Yes it has!!!!!!! Report
Yes it has. Watching the beach volley ball especially.
It's definitely been inspiring! If they can do such wonderful things, I know I can achieve my goals. Well, I knew that already... but it's just good to reconfirm it from time to time. lol Report
I am not able to watch the Olympics. However, knowing that they train for so many hours to be able to reach their goals and set records empowers me to train harder and longer so I can reach my personal goals. Report
yes and no LOL..........the no part is because it sometimes makes me sad to know physically i can not do what they do but sure wish i could and wish that I had never allowed myself to get this fat. the yes part is that i know I can make the changes to be more active and get moving again. Report
Thanks for posting this, Coach Nicole! I have realized that this year, more than any before, I am really interested in the Olympics. I have always enjoyed watching them, but since I have started this year to really take control of my health and to gain strength, I am even more fascinated with the Games! These althletes are all truly inspiring! Report
Yep....I was watching it today while running! Report
I haven't gotten to see as much as I would have liked but it has been a motivator for me. I can't imagine the training they go through but it makes me believe I can do anything I set my mind on! Report
No, I haven't been watching, but my husband hasn't missed any of the "women's" events. LOL He sure made a point of telling me how great those women looked in the diving competition. Report
Yes, very inspiring Report
I haven't watched much of the Olympics but what I saw has encouraged me to do more. After watching the young man run on metal blades I was definarely inspired and promised I would not complain again about the two legs I still have. That was a blessing to watch. I know God had me at that moment turn to that event. Thanks or sharing Coach Nicole! Report
They are so inspirational! Report
I love to watch the Olympics while I'm on my treadmill. I usually only do 20 minutes at a time, but while watching the Olympics I completely lose track of time, and I have looked down to see 33 minutes. I have even started jogging instead of just walking. I like to watch the runners, when they show them in slow motion you can see all the different muscles working, it's amazing. Report
The Olympics definitely inspire me; to see the motivation and dedication of these athletes and knowing the consistency and dedication it takes to perform at that level is awesome. It makes me push a bit more in my workout. If they can do it, then the least I can do is stop procrastinating and put in 100%. Report
The Olympics don't inspire me because I value a balanced life, and no one who is so driven to achieve in one area can be expected to be balanced; different values. The original Greek in their Olympics valued a well-rounded athleticism, not this over-specialized approach. I do, too.

Besides, I've become more aware than ever how political the whole thing is: example--a woman who ran for Sudan in a previous Olympics now is "British"--better team, better training? who knows, but tough on Sudan.

I think for most people trying to emulate their workouts would be tought. What motivates me is their discipline and sacrifice. I hop to apply some of that to my smaller goals. Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.