Canadian Olympian Phylicia George Reveals How to Find Joy in Exercise

Athletes — they’re just like us. 

Phylicia GeorgePhoto Credit: Reesee Zigga Zagga
Photo Credit: Reesee Zigga Zagga

We sat down with double Olympian Phylicia George for her take on all things fitness, including how she finds joy in exercise and tips on combatting age-related issues.

Sport serves up many life lessons. What has it taught you?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from track is the importance of patience and consistency when undertaking a major goal. Great things take time to develop. It’s essential to trust the process and to not be distracted by the ups and downs, but to simply keep taking steps in the direction you want to go. Similarly, consistency is key. What you do every day is more important than what you do every once in a while.

Committing yourself to the small things on a daily basis, adds up over time to great results. What’s your favourite fitness tip for us regular folks?

Find a type of exercise that you truly enjoy. Working out should not feel like a chore. I get up every morning excited to train because I truly love running. Exercise isn’t one-size-fits-all. Think outside the box and find something you find fun. The most important thing is to simply get moving and to challenge yourself. Aging wreaks havoc on bodies and bones. But on the other hand, these anti-aging secrets could add years to your life.

Has time caught up with your body yet?

Most definitely! I’d say the biggest change for me has come in slower recovery times. When I first started running track I could do a hard workout and feel great the next day without any recovery work.

So, how do you compensate?

I now make sure to do recovery work after every workout (Epsom salts soak, fascia stretching, massage, soft tissue treatment). This helps me prepare for the next workout and to be proactive in fending off potential injuries before they even develop. Plus, here’s why you should always make post-workout stretching a priority.

Phylicia GeorgePhoto Credit: Anson Henry
Photo Credit: Anson Henry

According to George…

Fact: There are only 161 athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Another fact: Markham, Ontario’s own Phylicia George is one of the two Canadians to be part of that elite group of dual season Olympians. Impressed? Us too.

George earned that impressive status when the track and field star deviated from her forte and took home a bronze medal in the two-man bobsleigh at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. It was George’s first Olympic medal, though she was no stranger to the games: in 2016, she’d competed for Canada in the 4 by 100-metre relay and the 100-metre hurdle in Rio and in 2012, she’d competed in the 100-metre hurdle in London.

George began racing her dad in parking lots as a kid, was running hurdles by 15 and competing nationally after university. Off the track, she’s decidedly in the slow-lane, spending her time with her family, reading and listening to music.

For now, she’s back to her roots: training for track for both the World Championships in Doha and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. We’ll wager becoming a dual-season-medal-winning Olympian carries pretty good bragging rights, too. Clara Hughes is the other athlete who represented (and won) medals for Canada in both Winter and Summer sports.

Next, read up on Canadian Olympian Penny Oleksiak and how she handles the pressure of success.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada