This is a tale of two Olympic-level athletes.
Lauryn Williams won the the silver medal in the 100-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Olympics and was world champ in the 100-meter dash and 4x100 relay in 2005. At the 2012 London Games, she won gold as a relay team member.
This year, Williams, who trained at the University of Miami for her Olympic runs, has traded the heat of the track for the ice of the bobsled, as she recently qualified for the U.S. women’s bobsled team in next month’s Sochi Olympics.
Sarah Messiah, meanwhile, was a member of the U.S. women’s national kayak team and an alternate on the team that competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Both women have had to adjust from a lifestyle of elite athlete to regular post-Olympics human being. Williams, 30, before she dipped her toe in the ice for another run at Olympic glory, was to get her career going as a financial planner. Messiah, 46, with a doctorate in epidemiology , is a pediatrics researcher at the University of Miami.
The two spoke about keeping in shape post- and pre-Games.
“In my case, I have been a professional athlete for 11 years straight. The ‘then-what?’ phase is about six weeks away for me,” she said earlier this month while training in Austria for the bobsled. “I plan to do Bikram yoga, ride my bike and do some occasional running workouts to stay fit.”
“I never went about regular life after the Games,” she said. “I took six weeks off, then started to prepare for the next season.”
“I do Bikram yoga every day. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life and such a zing of energy,” she said. “Yoga, one of the benefits of that time when you’re on the mat practicing, is your mind is getting a rest. You are pushing those thoughts on the back burner of the brain to percolate a bit and then, boom, ideas are fresh the next day. I think a lot of that has to do with exercise.”
Messiah also swims, runs, does Pilates and water aerobics, and enjoys CrossFit, a rigorous training regimen that combines weight training with cardiovascular workouts.
“I love CrossFit, and I would tell anybody, ‘If that’s your passion, go do it.’ But be sensible about how you do it. Ease into it. We all have days where you don’t feel 100 percent. So go 80 percent that day. You don’t have to prove anything to anybody. You’re not going for the Olympic Games that day.”