If you haven't heard of Allyson Felix, be prepared to fall in love. Allyson is the most decorated woman in US track and field history with a whopping nine Olympic medals (six gold medals and three silvers) under her belt from the last 14 years. She recently teamed up with the YMCA to create a compelling video series entitled "My Y Story." Allyson's episode shows how the Y had a positive impact on her as a child and how much she believes in the children's programs currently at the Y.
We spoke to Allyson about the hard work it takes to be one of the most successful athletes of all time. In order to build up her body and prepare her for her runs, she spends a good amount of time doing strength training at the gym. More specifically, she works on building up the lower body, especially the glutes, since that's where a lot of her power comes from on the track.
"With all of the short races, you have to be so powerful just getting out of the blocks, and that power really helps you explode down the tracks," Allyson told POPSUGAR. We asked her which glute-centric moves she does most often. "I spend about three days [a week] in the weight room. During the Olympic year, I was in the gym about four days a week," she shared. "I do the traditional Olympic lifts. Also squatting, doing stuff with kettlebell, and deadlifts. All that power that comes from your legs is extremely important."
Even if you're not an Olympic runner like Allyson (or a runner at all, in fact), you'll feel stronger and improve your fitness performance by doing these exercises regularly. And the very sweet cherry on top is the fact that you'll be building a bodacious butt at the same time. Win-win!
Straight-up strength training isn't the only thing Allyson does in the gym, though. "I [go] heavy on the plyometrics, so a lot of box jumps, one-legged hops, broad jumps, a lot of weighted movement — sled, free weights, and things with my own bodyweight," Allyson told us. Doing this much plyometric work allows her to "apply the power to the [running] I do."
As for taking care of herself outside of the gym, Allyson said, "I do a bit of visualization. That's definitely very helpful for me. Just kind of running through the race in my mind and what a perfect race looks like and making that a part of my routine — and also just taking care of my body." She eats a lot of whole foods that are packed with energy: fish, brown rice, vegetables, etc. This is all "fuel to be able to handle the grueling training."
See Allyson's episode of "My Y Story" below.