Tamara Oudenaarden is a retired Canadian speed skater and was a member of the Winter Olympic Team in 2010. Tamara is also a believer and a friend.

I asked her to talk about one of the least observable but vitally important parts of Olympic training and how she applies that to faith.

Fuel For Gold

“Training is a major aspect of sport but something that people look past is the recovery which is an essential part of an athlete’s world. Fueling your body with the right things at the right time, or jumping into cold bath’s or pulling on your recovery tights are so important if you want to keep your performance level up day after day.

Its essential to refuel and replenish the body with nutrients and energy that are lost in a workout. I eat a high carb, high protein diet in a program called “Fuel for Gold” provided by the Canadian Sport Centre.

Self Motivation

Once or twice a week I schedule an appointment with my osteopathist, massage therapist, physio or chiro.

There are a lot of things an athlete can do on their own but at times you need structural work by therapists.

Summer training is all about building a base and putting on muscle to last us throughout the racing season. Volume is up and so is intensity and there are days where we wake up the next day and have trouble walking down stairs but as athletes you need to suck it up because usually you will have an equally hard program that same day.

Those are the days that are mentally/physically hard to get out of bed and I have to motivate myself a little more.

Mindset

Sometimes the programs look so tough on paper that you’re mentally struggling to prepare yourself for that one; your mind is so strong and can convince you that you aren’t good enough or that you can’t finish that program, and when you believe what your brain is telling you it shows in the work you put out on the ice.

It’s important to have a strong mindset each and every day, make goals for yourself, and know when to push your body past the limits or when your body can’t handle anymore.”

Spiritual Training

“It was so cool that while I was writing this, I saw the direct correlation with how we are supposed to prepare our minds and bodies each and every day as a Christian and how we are supposed to spend that time feeding ourselves with the word of God and having that relationship with Him.

Before we go out into our day that we need to be prepared in mind, body and soul.

I could just see with a lot of the points I made how it corresponded to how I should be going about my journey with God like I do with training.”

APPLICATION: How are you keeping yourself healthy? What you do to refuel your faith and keep your life strong. Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Joel Oevering says:

    How do I fuel for gold as it were, well it starts how every other day starts…with getting up when you ‘need’ to get up. Not when you want to or when it’s to late to really prepared yourself for the day. If you can’t do the simple small things ie. shower, eat, brush your teeth then you have issues out of the starting gate. Just like Tamara was talking about how important it is to remember and be mindful of how her body reacts to training and races, it comes down to the small goals/tasks that make the big difference. My eldest brother puts it this way with our employees, “What separates us from our competition is 10%. That 10% is the difference that gets us to that 100% and not being okay with 90%. That is when you lose that 90% of effort and time and have made things harder for yourself.” The point is that if you don’t push yourself when you know you can give just a little more you may as well not tried. That may seem a little harsh or black and white for say but it is true. Anything less than what you are able to give is short changing yourself…not others even though it is as well. I mean that in your faith or whatever you work at, that you should always be wanting and seeking ways to grow and become a force in this thing called life. What is life if not to live it and live it to it’s fullest?!

    I’m becoming more and more a business man. I can tell you that my knowledge and understanding has not really come from books about business or conferences or that I was raised in a home where business was like a second language. I come from a lower-middle class family where family and the basics for living was the priority which included faith in Jesus Christ, home, food and clothes were special enough. Anything extra was just that….extra. My parent’s pushed one thing in my mind that really gave me and my two older brothers strong personalities. That is ‘opportunity’, to try and excel at one or many things. My accomplishments may seem small and insignificant to anyone else (other than my mom:) but to me they are huge. Only I know how I felt when I reached those points in my life and how they changed me. People can only look on and see the change…which may be over time. The older I get the more incredible it is to me to just look at lots of my friends or people I’ve known and see where they are and to know where they came from! To see triumphs and defeats, to see how these transform individuals to the point where their experiences have molded them into the extraordinary identities they are today. Each different, where I can learn from each of them and hopefully them from me.

    So before I carried away in a rant I would get back to the point of this blog. With all that said the things that fuel me for gold are my faith, family, and friends. Opportunities to go deeper, farther, and longer in all those. Work is a place for me to exercise my efforts to grow and put into practice those things that I want to have transformed in my relationship with my God, family, and friends. First I prepare myself (getting into the Word of God, praying and mindfully considering my actions of the day), then I implement those things I’ve learn into practice to the best of my abilities and some. From that point I recover by reflecting and seeing the progress I’ve made. With that said not every day is easy or even a success but you have to take it day by day and not let the latter hold you for today is a new day and full of opportunities beyond our understand or preparation. The fact is that they are there we just need to be willing to seek them, and pursue them with all our mind strength. See the mind is the most powerful muscle in your body…not because it’s the strongest nor the fastest even though in a way it is fast in a mental kind of way. It is the most powerful because through it we decide to get up when we fall, fight when defeat is gazing in on you, run harder when your body says no more. It controls your body in more ways than we can conceive, but I think you are getting the picture. The mind makes the heart of your ‘being’ conform to the will of you mind. The mind is the control center…so don’t let auto-pilot turn on, but stay in control and take advantage of the time given you to make something happen TODAY! Choose to live today! Not to live for experiences but live for that which is you or not you if that makes sense for we are always changing…hopefully for the better.

    Thanks for reading and I hope this has helped and encouraged you!

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