olympics 2020

3 Life Lessons from an Olympic Gold Medalist, Ryan Murphy

The Olympics may be over, but the routines and habits of these top performing athletes can still apply. Olympic swimmer, Ryan Murphy shares with CNBC how he recovers after training twice a day, deals with the pressure of going for gold, and finds time for friends and family. Even though we aren’t all Olympians like Murphy, he shares three important lessons that could help us be our best selves.

Lesson #1: Drink a Veggie Smoothie Every Day

“I make a vegetable smoothie every day. It doesn’t taste very good. But it is honestly probably the most healthy thing that I eat.”

Vegetables are a big portion of nearly every diet, whether you are a committed vegan or in love with the keto diet. Vegetables are low in calories and packed with water, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. However, according to the CDC, nine in 10 Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Veggie smoothies or superfood drinks can help you get the recommended one to three cups of vegetables a day.

Murphy mixes spinach, carrots, broccoli, beets, some cherries, coconut milk or almond milk and a little bit of coconut water in his green smoothie. As an alternative to make-your-own smoothie, there are plenty of delicious, good-for-you greens powder mixes, such as Natural Recovery Greens, to help you get more vegetables in your day.

Lesson #2: Meditate Daily

“As we get closer to those big meets, I do try to put aside the time every day to meditate.”

Stress happens, but meditation can help you reduce anxiety, depression and stress, increase positive self-statements, and improve chronic pain. Mindfulness meditation focuses on your breath as it goes in and out, training your mind to let go of wandering thoughts. There are other techniques, such as yoga, listening to music, journaling or grounding, to help you relax your mind and bring you back to the present moment. Choose which is right for you and put aside time every day to that practice.

To meditate, first find a comfortable seat and simply notice your body — how the floor feels against your feet, how your body sinks and relaxes. Then, follow the sensation of your breath — the rise of your chest, the cool air leaving your nose or mouth when you exhale. When a thought comes to mind, take notice of it and let it float away like watching a sail boat flow down the river. Continue doing this for a set number of minutes.

Lesson #3: Make Time for Yourself.

“It’s very easy to kind of become a robot and just get so intense towards your sport, so you also need to have time for yourself. You need to have time to relax and do things you enjoy.”

When you are dedicated to your work or training for a competition, we can often lose sight of family, friends and having fun. Over time, our physical and mental health can suffer. Taking time for yourself can help find balance in your life and improve your productivity, mood, performance and health. As Ryan Murphy said, “It’s as simple as balance.” So, go on and have that chocolate cake, hang out with your friends tonight, or take a vacation to get away from it all. Just remember to eat that salad for lunch, get seven to eight hours of quality sleep, and exercise for 30 minutes. It’s called balance.


Disclaimer: Quotes and information regarding Ryan Murphy are from NBC’s interview in their article called “3-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy: Why being the best can be lonely, plus his hack to handle high pressure” written by Jade Scipioni.

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