There is a story of a determined woodcutter asking for a job with a timber merchant. He wanted to show his new boss how strong a worker he was, so with new axe in hand, he brought back 18 trees the first day. The boss congratulated him on the accomplishment. Very motivated, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he brought only 15 trees back. The third day he tried even harder, but he only could bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees to his boss. He went to the boss to apologize for his lack of production, to which the boss asked him, "When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" The woodcutter replied, "Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees..."
"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax." Abraham Lincoln
Week 12 had the remaining contestants traveling to the Olympic Training Center in Park City, Utah. This week we rubbed shoulders with Olympic athletes past, present and future, in an effort to learn how to "train like a champion." One of the recurring themes when working with these athletes was the absolute necessity PREPARATION was to reaching their goals. Think about it, the reason an Olympic training center exists in the first place is to "prepare" athletes for elite Olympic competition. These men and women dedicate themselves for years to prepare physically and mentally, learning about everything from technique to conditioning to diet to dealing with pressure and distraction. Preparing like an Olympic athlete is a lot of work, but the benefits can be golden.
Just like the challenge this week had the contestants running UP the bobsled track, I believe we each have a race we're running and our own mountain to climb. I know the chance to perform in our one-of-a-kind competition wouldn't have even been possible for me a few months earlier, but I had been preparing in my own ways. Each week along the way, I would set a weight-loss goal. With the weekly goal, I would break it down into daily goals or even half-day goals, to help myself check progress along the way, and to avoid falling too far behind in those goals. Calories burned, calories consumed, calorie deficits, workout planning, diet planning, cooking and pre-packaging meals, employing rest and recovery methods, varying intensity and duration exercises for most efficient results... life lessons, hardships, failures, seemingly random experiences, all are forms of preparation if you allow them to be.
In a few short weeks, elite athletes from all over the world will compete in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. When you see these men and women in the heat of competition, or adorned with a medal, listening to their national anthem, and soaking in their celebratory moment of accomplishment, I hope you also "see" the years of preparation that went into those moments of glory. And for those of you wondering, the Olympic medalists I talked to this week said it was worth every minute of preparation they have ever given to realize their dreams.
Week by week I'm preparing for my own version of the Olympic games, working hard to make the show finale. And if I get that opportunity, my moment on the podium receiving my medal would be in winning the title of The Biggest Loser. It's hard to tell, but I think I've been preparing for this moment all my life. I hope you find your Olympic games, and may you go for the gold!
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