Olympic Gold Medalist Ed Moses Shares What It Takes to Win the GoldNutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Every two years, we are graced with the world's best athletes competing and battling it out for athletic supremacy and national pride. The athletes who performed in the Winter Olympics, which ended a few days ago, were no different.
And what better way to end this display of extraordinary athleticism and competition than to interview Olympic gold medalist in swimming and Proactive Health Labs’ Senior Health Advisor, Ed Moses.
What is it like to win an Olympic gold medal?
Ed has been asked this question many times since his 2000 Olympic run in Sydney, Australia. And his answer has remained the same for 18 years: “I knew I was going to win.”
As you can probably imagine, some might be perplexed by this response and construe it as arrogance.
But according to Ed, the reality is that if he didn’t believe he could win, see himself winning and dream of winning every day during the four years prior to him winning the gold, he would never have had a shot.
“Someone has to win, and I knew I could be that person,” Ed said.
“I was not scared of my competitors no matter how big, small, fast or tall they were. It didn’t matter. I was me, and I had complete control of myself."
Ed heard the cheers in his mind well before he won and experienced in advance the happiness he would feel when he stood on the podium with a gold medal around his neck.
“Day in and day out, I played this scenario out in my mind until the day came. I told myself each day that I was in control. So I got familiar with winning in my mind before I actually won.”
Now when Ed explains winning this way, it becomes clear that belief and confidence in yourself, not arrogance, is the key to winning.
(Perhaps I need to adapt this belief and confidence to my golf game in order to be able to win).
What else should young athletes going for the gold know?
Ed states that like most sports, swimming is very mental. In addition to the belief and confidence in yourself, it is necessary to have patience and acknowledge that what you are trying to achieve requires a major commitment and will not happen overnight.
“If I were to equate the number of miles I have swam to going to another country, I have been to China and back, twice, in my lifetime. I know what the cologne of chlorine smells like. Excellence does not rely on luck. It requires patience and hard work. It also requires having a plan. You have to plan the work and then work the plan,” Ed said.
How do you track your progress in swimming?
According to Ed, the great thing about swimming is that it is a very objective sport. Swimming 100 meters is swimming 100 meters. If your time to swim that distance happens to be the fastest in the world, then it is likely that you will be the fastest swimmer on competition day. And on that day, if he swims faster than anyone else ever has then they call that a world record.
And of course we had to ask about some of the nutrients Ed used to become a good athlete.
He said competitive swimming requires a lot of energy, so you have to be diligent about fueling your body properly. Some might argue following proper nutrition as a competitive athlete is just as hard as the physical training.
Whether that is true or not, there is no denying that good nutrition is imperative if you want to put out your best athletic performance.
Getting adequate amounts of certain nutrients may help you reach your fullest athletic potential, by improving strength and endurance, increasing exercise efficiency and increasing tolerance for more intense training.
According to Ed, he had to be most aware of his iron, protein and vitamin C intake. For example, he had huge issues with anemia and had to constantly monitor his iron levels. And he had to eat well over 7,000 calories daily to support his training activities!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific nutrients that may have helped Ed win the gold.
“Iron is one of the most critical minerals with implications for sports performance. Iron is a component of hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochromes, and various enzymes in the muscle cells, all of which are involved in the transport and metabolism of oxygen for aerobic energy production during endurance exercise,” reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Along with increasing oxygen uptake, iron may reduce heart rate and decrease lactate concentrations during exercise.
Protein is a component of every cell in the human body and is needed for proper growth and development. It is a part of your skin, hair, nails, muscle, bone and internal organs. It is also found in almost all bodily fluids. Regarding athletic performance, protein helps build, maintain and repair muscle.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and antioxidants help fight oxidative stress and free radical damage.
“Vitamin C is an essential component of the diet and may reduce the adverse effects of exercise-induced reactive oxygen species, including muscle damage, immune dysfunction, and fatigue,” reports the NIH. This vitamin may help minimize free radical damage to skeletal muscle and, as a result, reduce muscle fatigue, soreness and inflammation.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that may provide a lot of the same benefits regarding athletic performance that vitamin C does. Vitamin E may even slow the aging process of your cells and help repair cells that are already damaged.
This mineral is also an antioxidant and is crucial for using iron in the body and overall energy production. Copper may help fight oxidative stress caused by exercise-induced fatigue.
Taurine is a non-essential amino acid that plays a role in metabolism and can affect heart contraction and act as an antioxidant. Branched-chain amino acids and taurine may help to delay the onset of muscle soreness and muscle damage in high-intensity exercise.
And one of the things Ed stresses, in addition to good nutrition, are regular nutrient tests to make sure you have the correct levels of nutrients in your body.
If you have a deficiency in any nutrient, this could be detrimental to reaching your full athletic ability. And at the same time, having too much of any nutrient may also be detrimental and harmful.
It is also extremely important to make sure that your body is properly hydrated. And to insure that it is, you can measure both your intracellular and extracellular water with an Inbody machine.
Athlete or not, if you want to win the gold regarding your health you have to test and not guess!
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.