HOUSTON – A photo opportunity with fans is more like a day of rest for the athletes preparing to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Their daily grind, however, is much different.
It took just under 10 seconds for Jamaica’s Usain Bolt to become the fastest man on the planet in 2008, but Olympic hopefuls spend countless hours training for those few critical seconds.
So what goes on in the mind of a track star while they’re in the gym training for such an important event?
Olympic track athletes perform interval runs and sprints. Their workouts last maybe three hours, but don’t forget the weights. Inside the weight room, coach Dennis Miller trains sprinter Curtis Mitchell
His dedication is something everyone with fitness aspirations can learn from.
"The most important thing as a runner, you have to push through on your down days,” said Mitchell, “The days you don't feel good are the most important days."
To push through, experts recommend you should do what you love and remember to eat right, rehydrate and rest.
"You're a Ferrari," said coach Miller. “The fuel you put in your Ferrari dictates how that car runs from day to day."
Olympian Justin Gatlin lives by this credo. He took the gold medal in 2004, crediting his discipline and diet.
Gatlin consumed lean meats and portioned meals to help him trim his time and ultimately trim his waistline.
“I was like 210, 205 pounds,” said Gatlin. “Now I'm down to 182."
He does have his moments to indulge, since the gold medal isn’t the only reward for a dedicated athlete. Gummies and cupcakes are often a sweet reward.