pro athlete pushups on medicine ball

Workout Lessons from Pro Athletes

Emmy Sobieski, founder My10Min, worked 80-100 hour weeks while competing at Olympic level sports.  She provides workshops, courses, and coaching, focusing on fitting in self-care 10 minutes at a time: connection, nutrition, resilience and movement. 

Your mental framework: Signaling, showing up and self-care 

Signaling your body and mind is more important than any single workout. My trainer was training for his first ironman and was hit by a car riding his bike 3 months before his race. The next 3 months he visualized training each day from his bathtub. The week before the race, he did easy runs, swims, and bike rides. 

He completed that ironman. 

Positive visualization is powerful and you can use it anytime.

Self-care and fun are key to men’s health as men often put others first. You can practice self-kindness in your workouts, by knowing what you need, and giving it to yourself, just as the pros do. 

Once you have what you need, relax and know you can figure the rest out. Dean Karnazes was not always a runner. Burnt out from climbing the corporate ladder in San Francisco, Dean leaves his 30th birthday party. He jogs to “sober up” and keeps running… 30 miles later. He’s since run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. While he eats nutritiously at home, Dean famously orders pizza while running! This made me realize, I am taking everything too seriously. Show up, get what you need, have a little fun, and know any movement is positive.  

Moving Averages, Periodization, and Heart Rate

Life has ebbs and flows. Leverage your innate resilience.  Look at food and exercise over a 3-day average.  

Push harder when you have energy and time, then pull back, do short, targeted workouts or just take a walk, then on the weekends do something longer.  Periodization is putting structure to your ebbs and flows, knowing that slowing down is when the building occurs. 

Heart Rate: The dirty secret…

The dirty secret among pros is that nearly all amateurs are running too fast, just above your aerobic rate. Even pros fall for this trap!

While it’s fun to push and go fast, brisk walking is often the fastest way to build aerobic capacity.

Mark Allen, professional Ironman, was injury prone and struggling to make a living. He went to trainer Phil Maffetone (“Maf”), who prescribed slowing down. Mark couldn’t believe he was a fit Ironman walking up hills on his training runs. Friends said stick with it. 6 months later he was powering up hills at an extraordinarily low heart rate. He won 6 of the next 10 ironman world championships with few injuries. Maffetone says this method reduces injuries by 60%.

Make Maffetone work for you:

  1. Calculate your Max Aerobic Heart Rate = 180 – (Your Age)]
  2. Adjust for physiological age (injuries, fitness, etc on  these parameters)
  3. Work out at under 85% of your Max Aerobic Heart Rate.

Armed with the knowledge that less is often more, the power of visualization, and how to leverage the ebbs and flows of life to build a stronger future, will you treat yourself with love and add some brisk walking, knowing that self-care is what the pros do too?

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