Categories: Motivation

The best advice for getting in shape – from professional athletes

December 28, 2017

Professional athletes may make running 26.2 miles or riding 100 look easy – but everyone, including Olympians, had a first workout once. And who better to dish out advice to beginners than the people who have learned every lesson – often the hard way – along the way? If your New Year’s Resolution is to get in shape, get back in shape, or get in superstar shape, here’s what Polar’s pro athletes want you to know.


“People often get excited for a big goal, challenge, or resolution. However, the excitement tends to fade after a week or so, and that’s when the real work begins. I’d recommend creating a snowball effect where you start with something manageable and build your volume and intensity as your fitness improves. The psychology is very similar to expert advice on how to pay off debt or save for retirement. The most important thing in this process is to stay excited about tomorrow. Don’t do so much on any single day that you can’t bounce back from and be excited about the next workout. Before you know it, you’ll be in great shape and ready to tackle even bigger challenges.”


“Find a group to work out with. This not only makes it a more enjoyable experience, but it also keeps you accountable. And then set some goals: small, short-term goals as well as those long-term, big-picture ones.”


“If you’re a new runner, start with or incorporate run/walks in your routine. When I come back from taking time off, I use this as a way to maintain good form. If you become too fatigued, your form can get sloppy, which leads to injury. I suggest a three-minute run followed by a one-minute walk to maintain good form.”


“For beginner athletes, I think it’s crucially important to enjoy whatever form of exercise you choose. Whether it’s walking, jogging, cycling, skiing, tennis, or the elliptical, enjoying it most of the time will likely mitigate an early burnout. Another way to make sure exercise is enjoyable is to find an exercise partner. Not only does having someone to meet you hold you accountable, it also makes it more fun. Think about people you see working out alone – stern faces, rarely smiling or laughing. Contrast that with people you see working out in pairs or groups – lots of laughs, jokes, stories, and maybe, most importantly, collective hard work.”


“You may feel like running long is just too hard to be enjoyable. But if you’re consistent with it – not necessarily running every day, but without big chunks of time off – you will get stronger! Runs can be awesome once you find your most efficient form, strengthen your lungs, and figure out little things like your best nutrition and gear strategies that let you run longer and stronger. It’s definitely worth it to hit that fitness level that lets you chat through a trail run with a running buddy and feel energized for the rest of the day rather than exhausted. It’s also nice to be fit enough to zone out on a solo easy run and not be distracted by the pain of getting in shape!”

Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals or physicians. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.