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5 Fitness Secrets from the World’s Top Athletes

It seems there are always new trends in exercise to try out, and new routines to explore. If you are just starting to work out, the sheer amount of programs, recommendations, tips and tricks may be overwhelming.

Dr. Greg Wells, who has helped dozens of elite athletes win medals at World Championships and the Olympics, has gathered five of the biggest “secrets” you need to know in order to achieve peak physical health.


It may or may not come as a surprise, but sleep is extremely vital to your overall wellbeing. Your body and brain needs you to get enough quality sleep, as it uses that time to recover and regenerate. If you have a poor night’s sleep, the hormones that regulate appetite become disrupted, causing you to eat more and feel hungrier the following day. Lastly, growth hormone is released during sleep, which helps tissue repair, grow, and build.


Nutrition, as Dr. Wells puts it, is the “foundation of all human health and performance,” and he believes there is no chance to excel if your body isn’t being properly fueled. Dr. Wells has come up with a formula “H = N/C,” meaning health is equal to nutrients over calories. Basically, he is wanting you to see how many nutrients you can pack into a calorie.

Nutrient-dense vegetables and high protein amounts from lean protein sources are vital. Sadly, the opposite is true with most foods you eat today. It is easy to be “overfed but undernourished” with foods containing many empty calories, but body composition and health will never improve this way. In addition to helping your body grow strong and healthy, eating well will affect your brain positively, too; you will think and learn better, and be more creative.


Traditionally, people thought a high-volume routine was the best form of exercise. How hard you could train, and for how long was the measure of success. Luckily, there’s been a significant shift since then.

Today there is a huge emphasis on interval training and balancing heavy workouts with lighter exercise, giving you time to recover. These peaks and valleys are a great way to add in heavy weight lifting, yoga, and other forms of exercise. When working out, you want to mix things up as much as possible so that it stimulates adaptions from your body.

Sports Psychology

There is a renewed interest in getting athletes to practice sports psychology, which helps them get in “the zone.” The “zone” commonly refers to a flow state where the athlete can concentrate better, focus, and eliminate distractions. If you are exercising at home or at the gym, one of the easiest things you can do to improve your concentration is eliminate anything that may distract you, including text messaging, constantly changing songs, or talking to friends.

Challenge Yourself

Dr. Wells notes that one of the best ways to further your health is by pushing yourself to perform better. It’s great just trying to eat right and be healthy, but find and choose an event or something that you can train for. Selecting an event to participate in will give you the extra motivation you may need to eat better, sleep better, complete your workout, and fulfill your goals.

In the accompanying audio segment, Dr. Greg Wells joins Dr. Mike Smith to share his five fitness secrets from the world's top athletes that can help boost your workouts.
5 Fitness Secrets from the World’s Top Athletes
Featured Speaker:
Dr Greg WellsDr. Greg Wells is a broadcaster, author, coach and athlete who has dedicated his career to understanding human performance and how the human body responds to extreme conditions.

He has trained dozens of elite athletes to win medals at World Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Dr. Wells also serves as the assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Toronto where he studies elite sports performance.

He also serves as an associate scientist of physiology and experimental medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children where he leads the Exercise Medicine Research Program. Dr. Wells is the author of Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World's Best Athletes (HarperCollins, June 26, 2012) and is a sought-after speaker on the topic of human performance, speaking at top events like TEDx and the Titan Summit alongside Sir Richard Branson.

A frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, he has been an expert in other top media outlets like ABC News, 20/20, The Discovery Channel, CBC and CTV. He also served as the sports medicine analyst for the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium for the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games. For more information visit

Alonso is a long-time health and wellness advocate who loves to write about it. His writing spans the scope of blogs, educational magazines, and books, both on and offline.