Unless you count sitting on a couch flipping through Netflix movie genres as a sport, then I’ve got all the tips to achieve your summer fitness goals.
Most people consider that lethargy though. I’m not athletic, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy watching sports. I live vicariously through the athletes I watch on TV. With the Summer Olympics only days away, I am buzzing with excitement.
As an Olympic couch potato, my commentary for the Games typically involves rating cute outfits and Googling reaction GIFs for potential live tweet material. Of course, there’s also a lot to learn from the athletes on Team USA.
Here are some of the inspirational women to watch at this year’s Olympic Games.
Simone Biles: Gymnastics
How would you describe your 19-year-old self? “Stupid,” “foolish”, “mistake” are a few that probably come to mind. At just 19, Simone Biles is already the most decorated female gymnast in history. And she leads Team USA’s elite female gymnastics team on the road to Rio. She even has her own signature move that no one else has been able to pull off; a double backflip combo to a half twist; dubbed “the Biles.” Of course, I have no idea what that really means, but it looks fancy AF on the competition floor.
Biles already has so many medals under her belt, but you can bet your sweet ass she’s got her eye on Olympic gold. With her signature move, that’s all but a sure thing (knock on wood). The next time you’re in need of some major #MondayMotivation, pull a Simone Biles and make your own rules.
Laurie Hernandez – Gymnastics
If you think you were stupid at 19, imagine what you were like at 16. I’ll give you a minute.
Not very pretty, right?
Of course, life at 16 is pretty sweet right now for Biles’ fellow gymnastics teammate, Laurie Hernandez. You may not know her name right now, but you will. Hernandez is the first U.S.-born Hispanic athlete to make the women’s gymnastics team in 30 years (!!). Her vibrant floor routines and upbeat personality have earned her the nickname “Baby Shakira.”
Take a page out of Hernandez’s book and add a little spunk to your work day.
Katie Ledecky – Swim
Swim competitions are insanely fascinating to watch, well for me anyhow since I can barely nail down the most basic move, which is floating.
I can’t swim. I’m terrible at holding my breath.
But, I can do a mean doggy-paddle.
But I digress.
In the world of Olympic swimming, one name stands out: Katie Ledecky. Yet another teen queen making a splash in Rio, this time in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle races. Like Biles, 19-year-old Ledecky is chasing history with a chance to be only the third woman in U.S. history to leave the Games with four gold medals.
So much WIN, and I can’t even remember where I parked my car today.
Ledecky strongly reminds us to never stop setting goals. Even the ones that seem impossible might just be a few laps away.
Ibtihaj Muhammad – Fencing
Fierce female fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad, nabbed a spot on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list earlier this year, and it’s easy to see why. She’s a five-time senior world team medalist and she’ll be the first U.S. Olympian to compete in the Games rocking a hijab.
Muhammad recently spoke with Business Insider and said her goal in Rio isn’t to win medals, but rather to change the way people view Muslim women. She’s breaking stereotypes and shaping new world views. Working gals like myself can learn a thing or two from her positive way of thinking.
Be smart. Be kind. And don’t let anyone define you.
Claressa Shields – Boxing
At just 21 years old, boxer Claressa Shields has already endured so much in her young life; poverty, abuse, a broken childhood … But after every storm there’s a rainbow.
At the age of 17—yet another teen making my high school self feel useless—Shields became the first ever U.S. woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing. Fast forward four years later, she’s going back for the gold in Rio this summer.
So where does a woman from a broken background gain the confidence to take on the world of boxing? In a recent interview with ESPN The Magazine, Claressa explains it all:
“I’m fighting for more than just a medal. I’m fighting for my family, I’m fighting for my future, I’m fighting for my city.”
The faith Shields has in herself is something to be admired. In your day-to-day work life, think about who is truly affected by your work. Fight for them, but above all, fight for yourself.
The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics officially kicks off this Friday, August 5th. When Team USA hits the field (or ring, or pool, or floor), keep an eye out for our girls.
If you’re like me, they might just inspire you to get off that couch.