On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
There’s a lot involved in becoming an Olympic athlete. On top of the enormous amount of hours they need to put into the physical training that’s required to be the very best in a fied; there’s also the sacrifices of being away from loved ones, making sure they get enough sleep and recovery, and staying on top of their nutrition at all times.
For American track and field gold medallist Brianna Rollins-McNeal, she found that taking care of her mental health was equally important as all these physical aspects of her training. “Track and field entails mental training just as much as physical training. Being that it is an individual sport it tests a lot of patience, self-awareness, and mental capacity,” she said in an interview with Well Being Trust.
“Being a hurdler it takes a lot of concentration to compete, and to compete well every single time takes a lot of mental focus. So I can say that this sport has tested my mental health in every way you can imagine. I have been high and low throughout my career, and that rollercoaster reminds me to take care of my mental health.”
In addition to practicing meditation and mindfulness on a daily basis, McNeal said, “I pray, journal, meditate on scriptures that are comforting to me in those moments. That has been my foundation for the past few years and it sustains me.”
McNeal’s focus on mental health training has paid off in dividends. The 29-year old Olympian won the women’s 100 metres hurdles at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and her personal record of 12.26 seconds is the fourth fastest in the event’s history.
Caring for my health and mental well-being is vital to my everyday living. It helps my attitude, daily tasks, and energy. I put out what I put within; metaphysical to the physical.Talking Mental Health with an Olympic Gold Medalist: An Interview with Brianna Rollins-McNeal | Well Being Trust
Brianna Rollins-McNeal’s training routine & diet
On a typical training day, McNeal wakes up at 7am and the first thing she does is read her Bible, read a book, or write in her journal. She then eats breakfast, an example meal would be two eggs and two slices of turkey bacon with a cup of oatmeal.
At 9.30am she starts her training at Cal State Northridge College, a public university in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. A typical training session includes two laps of alternating between running and walking 50 metres; walkovers; sprint and hurdle drills; acceleration exercises; finished off with flexibility and mobility work with exercise bands.
For lunch, she’ll grab a smoothie from the grocery store (“I get any kind of fruit smoothie, like strawberry or banana with kale or spinach. I don’t put any protein in that”), and some Chipotle if she has time, “I get a chicken bowl with brown rice, hot sauce, corn, guacamole, peppers, and a little bit of cheese,” she told Bikini.com.
When it comes to her diet, McNeal admitted in an interview with World Athletics that it’s “one of my greatest challenges as an elite track and field professional.” Cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes and other sweet treats appeared frequently in her diet when she was younger, although she’s learnt to keep the cravings at bay.
“To this day I still love a good burger and fries and a cupcake or something sweet and I still indulge from time to time, but I try to make sure that when I do, it is straight after a track meet and at least two days before I have another race.”
After lunch, McNeal starts her second training session for the day, this time at the gym where she focuses on improving power and strength with weights. “This would consist of 4 sets of 4 power cleans, 4 sets of 4 deadlifts,” she told Women Fitness. “After the Olympic lifts we focus on stability and strength and that would consist of single arm row, pull ups, single leg hip thrust, and side planks.”
Between 2.30-4.30pm, she’ll spend some time getting treatment for relief therapy. After that, her training day is done and she’ll head home to unwind from her day, watching The Vampire Diaries or catching up with her siblings (she’s the eldest of seven).
For dinner, McNeal will either order food if she’s too tired, or cook “chicken wings with broccoli or asparagus, or a sweet potato and brown rice.” Then she’s off to bed at 11pm, getting a solid 8 hours of sleep every night.
Right now I am focusing on my diet a lot more. That is one of the things I struggle with the most so putting 100% effort into that will be a really good change for me. I’ll continue to work hard and continue to pursue the goal of being the best that has ever done it.2016 Olympic Champion Brianna Rollins Introduces Us To A Day In Her Life! | Women Fitness
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