A few weeks ago, before heading off to London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Houstonian and taekwondo athlete Steven Lopez stopped by our Langham Creek Family YMCA to speak to some of our day campers on the importance of eating a healthy breakfast each morning. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions on how he stays in tip-top shape…
How important is health and wellness to your daily life?
Steven: Health and wellness is very important for everybody – especially for an Olympic athlete. We ask a lot of our bodies, and are working out 2-3 times per day. We need the right fuel to sustain energy during our workouts and it’s also important that we replenish after a workout.
How many times a week do you exercise?
Steven: I work out 11-12 times per week.
What exactly is your exercise regimen? Do you incorporate different types of activities? What are they?
Steven: I do taekwondo workouts every morning, and alternate cardio with strength and conditioning training throughout the week.
How important is healthy eating and what approach do you take to having a balanced diet?
Steven: After you workout, it’s very important to remember that your body needs to rebuild muscle. The right balance of proteins and carbohydrates is also important. I like to eat greek yogurt after I workout to help rebuild what was lost. I stay away from saturated fats and get the right balance of fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants. If you don’t eat a well-balanced diet, it’s important to remember to take a vitamin every day.
What advice do you have for people just starting an exercise plan?
Steven: For those just starting, it’s important to remember not to over do it, especially considering your past exercise experience. Don’t try to do everything all at once. If you try to do too much, your muscles will be sore, your body won’t want to continue and you probably won’t keep regularly working out. It’s important to start with moderation and then slowly push your body to do more. I also recommend, once you have a routine place, to try different exercises to avoid boredom. The endorphins pumping through your body after a workout make you feel really good and it’s important to remember that feeling and use it as a motivational tool to continue working out.
Everyone at the Y wishes Steven success in this year’s Olympic games – make Houston proud!