Olympians might seem superhuman as they flip through the air or cut through the water faster than the rest of us can even dream, but they’re just as human as the rest of us. Being an Olympic champion means being out of bed before the sun even rises, and training constantly for 8 or 9 hours a day or more.
Even the most seasoned of Olympians have workouts they wish they could avoid. From full weight sets, to one armed pushups, to thousands of reps on that medal-winning routine, no one knows how to push themselves harder than Olympians.
But even these elite athletes complain of workouts that pushed them past their limit. Some have trained with the Navy Seals, citing grueling workouts that literally made them sick. But it’s all worth it. As track and field star Dawn Harper-Nelson says, “Nothing is, ‘Oh this is fun! I enjoy the pain, the lactic acid, the burn that flows through my veins.’ None of that. You don’t want any of it. But you do want every piece of that gold medal.”
Check out their stories below.