ATH­LETES

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By JAC­QUE­LYN FRAN­CIS

From saunas to sleep, six Pan Am Games medal con­tenders share their psych strate­gies.

For six ath­letes with eyes on the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, elite sport isn’t all car­dio and weights. Mind and body restora­tion can help keep a young ath­lete from flam­ing out come com­pe­ti­tion day.

“I like to re­flect on the past com­pe­ti­tion by watch­ing film of the game and talk­ing to my dad on his per­spec­tive of how I played and how the game went. I also like to spend time by my­self and read a va­ri­ety of books. Read­ing gives me an out­let away from bas­ket­ball to re­lax my mind and to give my­self the chance to re­fresh be­fore hav­ing to fo­cus again for com­pe­ti­tion.” —Natalie Achonwa

“I go for acupunc­ture and mas­sage and take Ep­som salt baths to help my body re­cover. I also go to the sauna twice a week. It helps take the tox­ins out of my body and helps re­plen­ish my mus­cles. It also helps me drop wa­ter weight, be­cause usu­ally I am around 71 ki­los, so it just helps me get into the 69 cat­e­gory.

My train­ing is very im­por­tant, but the re­cov­ery is just as im­por­tant. I also like to watch videos of other fe­male weightlifters while I train. It mo­ti­vates me. I can see my­self lift­ing among them.” —Maya Lay­lor

“Be­fore a game, I need to do a lot of laps around the court to get my­self set and ready. I don’t re­ally count them; I do them un­til I feel like I’m warmed up. If I don’t do those laps, then I don’t feel fo­cused and my

mind is wan­der­ing. So I take that time to think and get my­self ready. It gets my arms ready and my heart rate up to where it needs to be so that I’m awake and aware on the court.” —Me­lanie Hawtin

“I get a min­i­mum of eight hours of sleep. That’s such an im­por­tant part of your re­cov­ery. At prac­tice, I’m es­sen­tially break­ing down my mus­cles, so sleep is when I’m build­ing up all the dam­age I’ve done through­out the day. And ice baths bring down your core body tem­per­a­ture and any in­flam­ma­tion.” —Phyli­cia Ge­orge

“I train 25 to 30 hours a week. I train like a swim­mer, like a cy­clist and like a run­ner. Be­fore races, I like to hang out with my par­ents. They travel a lot to see me com­pete. If they are not there, I like to call them the morn­ing of. A few hours be­fore the race, I re­lax and close my eyes, fo­cus on my breath­ing and vi­su­al­ize my race.” —Amélie Kretz

“You have to be in the mo­ment. Be­ing a pen­tath­lete is equiv­a­lent to be­ing the ideal sol­dier: We can pro­tect our­selves with a gun or a sword, move through land and wa­ter, and ride any horse. We com­pete around the world; a lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vides a pool of horses and we draw for one out of a hat. Then you get a timed 20-minute pe­riod and five prac­tice jumps be­fore you and your new part­ner have to per­form. Horses are very sen­si­tive. As soon as you sit on the horse, it knows a hun­dred things about you. The more re­laxed you are, the more in tune you’ll be.” —Me­lanie McCann

SPORT: WEIGHTLIFT­ING HOME­TOWN: TORONTO, ONT.

SPORT: WHEEL­CHAIR BAS­KET­BALL HOME­TOWN: OAKVILLE, ONT.

SPORT: TRACK AND FIELD HOME­TOWN: MARKHAM, ONT.

SPORT: TRIATHLON HOME­TOWN: BLAINVILLE, QUE.

SPORT: BAS­KET­BALL HOME­TOWN: GUELPH, ONT.

SPORT: PEN­TATHLON HOME­TOWN: MOUNT CARMEL, ONT.

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