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Ex-Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon's workout tips

Written by: Cary Castagna, QMI Agency
Jan. 16, 2014

Ato Boldon


 

Retired Trinidadian track star Ato Boldon isn’t particularly fond of gyms these days.

“To be quite honest, I hate gyms,” he says in a candid phone interview from South Florida. But it’s not the facilities themselves that are the focus of Boldon’s ire. Rather, it’s the self-indulgent patrons.

“Gyms have become such a haven for posers,” he explains. “It’s like more people are busy taking pictures of themselves working out than actually working out. It’s brutal.” The four-time Olympic medallist, however, has found a workable solution. “I belong to a 24-hour gym around the corner from my house. So I can go at two in the morning when I’m guaranteed nobody’s gonna be there,” he adds with a chuckle.

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Boldon, who picked up silver and bronze medals in the 100- and 200-metre dashes respectively at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, now serves as partner and speed trainer with S3 Sports Academy in Miami. When he’s not putting NFL hopefuls through their paces, the 40-year-old resident of Miramar, Fla., works as NBC Sports Group’s lead track and field television analyst. He’s slated to be at next month’s Winter Games in Sochi to offer insights and commentary on various events.

Indeed, Boldon’s a busy guy, which brings up another pet peeve of his: People who tell him they’re too busy to work out. “I’m like, ‘You’re not busier than I am. And if I can find a way, you can find a way,’” he says. “When I’m home, I’m on the track just about every day.” Boldon’s track workouts start with the exact same warm-up he used during his career. He walks the turns of the track and strides (not quite sprinting) the straights of the track for eight laps.

“So that’s two miles,” he adds. “Most people who join me find that that’s enough of a workout. But that’s just my warm-up.” From there, Boldon will do a combination of sprints, anywhere from 150 to 300 metres, depending on what day it is. “(Running) intervals, that’s the only way I know how to do it,” he notes. “That’s the one thing I know my body responds to.”

 

It’s an intense workout that lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. When he’s travelling, Boldon will hit the gym in his hotel and perform a series of classic exercises that build power and strength in multiple muscle groups, including cleans, squats, deadlifts and snatches.

“Ten years after my career, weights are not my focal point, but I understand that they are the best way to burn calories in a workout,” he explains. “If you want to get strong, you get that bar and you put those weights on and you get on that platform and you move that bar.”

Boldon, who earned a bronze medal in the 100m and a silver in the 4x400m relay at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, has also been known to hit the soccer pitch on occasion. “On a day like today, where all it’s done is rain, I will pick up that ball, put some air in it and just go out and move for 30 minutes straight with the soccer ball, back and forth, up and down the pitch,” he says.

Variety, after all, is among the keys to an effective workout regimen, according to Boldon. “I know that a lot of people get stuck in ruts and they feel like they plateau because they do the same thing,” he explains. “What happens is the body adapts. The body’s like, ‘Oh this. We can do this all day.’”

That’s why Boldon, a fit 190 pounds at five-foot-nine (15 pounds heavier than in his sprinting heyday), also recommends progressively increasing workout intensity. “If you’re comfortable with every workout that you do, you probably need to be doing it a little bit more intensely or more of it.”

Consistency is crucial, too. “My thing is just to move every day,” he advises. “To me, anything you do on a daily basis that gets your heart rate up is a good thing.”

But to those guilty of taking shameless gym selfies, Boldon would appreciate if you just leave your cellphone in your gym bag.

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