For most mere mortals, simply training for the Olympics would be enough to keep them busy. But not so 29-year-old Australian diver Melissa Wu, who somehow finds time to head up her growing businesses while also getting ready to shine in Tokyo.
Heading up a training gym and an activewear line, as well as reaching for Olympic gold, is a lot to balance, and so it’s little wonder the high-flying Aussie has built brain-training into her fitness routine.
Wu reveals that taking a moment to practice mindfulness exercises helps her to focus her thoughts and energy whenever things feel like they’re getting out of control.
“My businesses are an important part of who I am. They are passion projects but they also allow me to earn a living, along with competing, doing something I love,” she says.
“I love doing five minutes of mindfulness before a training session or competition to improve my focus and regain control of my thoughts and actions if I’m feeling stressed, nervous, or overwhelmed.
“Diving is an incredibly mental sport so performing under pressure is challenging. That’s why preparing myself both physically and mentally is so important.
“I use the Smiling Mind app to practice mindfulness and meditation. I’ve heard that spending 10-15 minutes on mindfulness is better than a power nap when it comes to feeling refreshed, engaged, and ready to go.”
But no matter how much you focus on keeping your mind calm and focused, Wu says she has also learned you can’t do everything yourself. And it’s here that she leans on the people around her for support when she needs it.
“Whether it’s my friends and family or my coaches for diving, I have great support systems in place to help me overcome every challenge and maintain a healthy, productive mindset,” she says.
Friends, family, and a healthy dose of perspective are the secret ingredients, then, to Wu’s stellar success.
“I’ve learnt to look at the big picture and keep things in perspective,” she says.
“Often, things don’t go to plan but it’s not the end of the world. The true test of character is how you react to those situations.
“Things happen for a reason and sometimes the challenges you face spur you on to achieve bigger and better things. Each hurdle is actually a crucial step in the process of achieving your goals.”
Melissa Wu on …
“Exercise always makes me feel good and when I exercise it helps my other stresses and emotions fade away. The time I spend exercising is my ‘me time’. I enjoy challenging and pushing myself, which is why I became an elite athlete.”
“I usually go to bed late because my training and work schedules are quite hectic, so I like to sleep as long as I can in the mornings. That means the first 30 minutes of my day can be a little rushed. I quickly get ready, check my emails and business websites, and then race out the door to get to training by 6am.”
“Sleep is essential. When I get enough sleep, I’m more productive, my performance is better and my thoughts are clearer.”
Five foods she can’t live without
“I can’t live without ice-cream, chocolate, sushi, coffee and bread. Coffee comes in handy for a schedule like mine, and luckily the Australian team will be taking 160kg of coffee beans to Tokyo.”
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