Jamie Greubel Poser, an American bobsledder who won the Bobsleigh World Cup medal in December 2012 and won the Bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the two-woman bobsliegh event, offers her insights into training and eating for success.
Peak performance doesn’t just happen. There is so much more that goes into being an elite athlete than just exercise. Preparation and recovery come in many forms, and they are vital for training, performance, and overall health. To me, sleep and diet are essential. How you fuel your body and the recovery you get during sleep are so important after pushing yourself in training. Taking the extra time to take care of your body will help you feel better and ultimately perform better everyday.
I always try to plan ahead with what I am going to eat. I find that when I wait until the last minute, I tend to eat what is convenient instead of what is healthy.
I like to start my day with a full breakfast. This gives me the energy I need to get going and stay focused. Eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and fresh fruit are some of the things that I normally eat in the morning.
Before training, I make sure that my body is primed and ready to go. This means being hydrated, doing a proper warm up as well as drinking a BeetBoost. I expect a lot from my body and push myself very hard. Warming up properly not only allows me to get the most out of my training, it aids in injury prevention as well. BeetBoost gives me natural energy to get through a long workout.
In order to push a 365-pound bobsled from a standstill to top speed in only 50 meters requires a unique combination of speed, strength and explosiveness. My training outside of bobsled is therefore a mix of weightlifting, plyometrics, sprinting, and pushing.
This allows me to build strength and mass, while maintaining speed. In bobsled, we have a weight minimum for our sled, and a maximum weight for the sled and the two athletes. Ideally, you want two big, strong athletes pushing a light sled. Our start time directly affects our time down the course, and the fastest time down the track wins, so you definitely want to have a fast start!
After training, recovery is key. I drink a protein shake or chocolate milk to refuel, followed by a nutritious lunch. Lean protein, carbohydrates and fresh vegetables are staples in my diet. I like to eat chicken, salmon, ground turkey or lean beef as my protein source. For carbohydrates, I generally eat sweet potatoes, rice or whole-wheat pasta. My favorite vegetables include spinach and broccoli.
For dinner, I will have a similar meal to what I would have for lunch. How much I eat varies on how hard my training was that day. The harder I train, the more calories I need to consume. During the season we are training (meaning weightlifting and sprinting) in addition to practicing our sport so our calorie requirements are pretty high. Another consideration is if I am trying to gain or lose weight based on who I am racing with that week.
I also always make sure to have access to healthy snacks. This gives me better options when I am running around. When I plan ahead, I have control of what I eat. If not, I am stuck choosing from whatever is available. This also applies to travel. Being on the road for a good portion of the year, I am constantly tempted with airplane dinners and fast food. Thinking ahead and being prepared keeps my nutrition in check. Whether it is preparing a healthy alternative or bringing fresh fruits and vegetables, I know that I will be ready when hunger strikes.
Nutrition is a very big part of taking care of my body as an elite athlete, but physically taking care of it is equally important. I use a lot of different therapies and recovery modalities in order to stay healthy and continue to train hard and perform.
In addition to dry needling, cupping, graston, active release therapy (ART), muscle energy, chiropractic care and massage, I find that stretching, foam rolling, the cold tub, and recovery pants (such as NormaTech) are great tools that keep me going from day to day. A combination of all of these techniques allow me to train as hard as I do six days a week, while minimizing injury and maximizing performance. It is incredibly important that I take the best care of my body that I possible can since I ask so much of it everyday.
Last, but certainly not least, sleep is extremely important. Without the recovery and regeneration that occurs during a good night’s rest, I would not be able to make the progress that I do in my training. It seems like such a simple and basic thing, but we all know too well how easy it is not to get enough sleep. I have to make a point to prioritize sleep. The quality of my training and my offseason preparation later translates into my performance and success in my sport.
If you want to be the best, you need to fuel your body with the best. Goals are just hopes and dreams without a plan. Put your plan into action, and achieve your goals.
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