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Win at Everything: Olympians' Top Success Secrets

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Do-It-Better Tips

Excuse-proof your workout.
Beat the morning or race-day time crunch with this sticky-note trick: "The day before, I make a list of all the things I need in the order they should be packed, and I have everything laid out," bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator says. "If I want my water to be cold for the race, it's at the bottom of the list so I'll put it in my bag right before I walk out the door."

Get a hot lower body.
Winter sports are all about balance-challenging feats on ice and snow, so stabilizing exercises that strengthen your lower half from abs to calves are key. "My favorite is a circuit called the hamstring trifecta, which is done on an exercise ball," freeskier Brita Sigourney says. Try it for a tight tush and toned legs:

  • Lie faceup on floor with legs extended, calves resting atop a stability ball. Lift hips so body forms a line from shoulders to heels; lower. Do 15 reps.
  • Start faceup with knees bent 90 degrees and heels atop ball. Press heels into ball as you lift hips to form a line from shoulders to knees; lower. Do 15 reps.
  • Start with hips lifted and legs extended, calves atop ball. Bend knees 90 degrees to bring feet toward butt, heels pressing into ball. Extend legs to return to start. Do 15 reps.

Upgrade your pony.
Your go-to workout do doesn't work in winter, Olympians say: Leaving the ends loose under a hat or helmet can create a hot mess of tangles. "I braid my hair when wearing my helmet," luger Julia Clukey says. "I've found that to be the most tamable style after training." For extra damage control, Clukey uses a detangler spray on her tresses beforehand. Spritz Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Silkening Detangler ($3, drugstores).

Make your toasty drink multitask.
So many of the Olympians we polled, like ski jumper Abby Hughes, picked hot chocolate as a chaser for the cold. "I warm up my chocolate milk; sipping it is a great way to recover after a tough winter workout," she says. And there's some science to back her up: One study showed that the mix of carbs and protein in the sweet stuff helps to replenish muscles. For optimal refueling, drink it within an hour of finishing, experts say. (No word on any marshmallow magic.)

Bend it like Wagner.
What is figure skater Ashley Wagner's secret to balancing all that strength training that can make muscles tight? "I do hot yoga two to three times a week to stay flexible," Wagner says. Smart move: It's best to stretch muscles when they're warm, so give yourself five minutes of light cardio before you hit the mat.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2014.


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