When it comes to accomplishing dreams, Olympians make it look so easy. But there's a lot of work that goes into being a world-class athlete: pushing through training, learning how to stay calm under pressure and keeping confidence upeven after a major setback, such as a loss or an injury. While you may not be gearing up for the games like these women, their tactics can still help you thrive. Take their advice on how to reach your personal best.
Embrace your body
"When I'm using my body to push past boundaries, I'm thinking about it as a vehicle for learning and growthinstead of just thinking about how it looks."
Gretchen Bleiler, 32, snowboarder, 2006 Olympic medalist
"Heels make me stand up and feel more confident and sexier. They also help with my posture, since I'm a big sloucher. I have this pair of Jimmy Choos that are my secret weapon."
"I always feel my best when I have given it my all in the gym. I feel so strong and confident. It also doesn't hurt to throw on a pair of great-fitting jeans!"
Nicole Joraanstad, 33, curler, 2010 Olympian
"There is something about everyone that makes them feel self-conscious, and I'm no different. But I also have a hundred things to be proud oflike how healthy and strong I amfor every 'flaw.'"
"I play my best when I'm at a heavier weight. The more I gain, the bigger my legs and arms become. But I embrace it. It's a mark of my training, and I am really proud of my hard work. You should never feel insecure about being muscular and fit."
Hilary Knight, 24, ice hockey player, 2010 Olympic medalist
Maintain your motivation
"The desire to always grow motivates me. When you get comfortable doing the same thing, you get stagnant and stuck. Life is about challenging yourself to learn and to become the best version of yourself."
"I focus on what is right in front of me and break down what I have to do into small steps. And I remind myself that these steps are building up to something worthwhile."
Kikkan Randall, 31, cross-country skier, three-time Olympian
"I am very competitive, so when I'm in the middle of a grueling workout, I simply think of what my competitors are more than likely doing, and that makes me want to do it even more."
"At the end of the day, I want to have no regrets. That's why I train hard every single day."
Change can be a good thing
"After London, I was broken. I couldn't understand how I could be so good to something (track and the hurdles) and have it not love me back. I wanted to get as far away from track as possible. Switching to bobsledding gave me a different perspective, which in turn restored my love for track and my desire to compete."
"I do focused breathing. I breathe in and hold for two seconds, breathe out for 10 seconds and repeat. It slows down the body and the mind."
"To quiet my nerves, I try to focus on the process and not the outcome. I play my best when I'm in the moment."
Prepare to eat great
"When you have a hectic schedule, it's easy to make bad food choices. I plan out my meals at the beginning of each week. On Sundays I do three to four hours of prep work and then cook everything. It makes things much easier when I get home from practice because everything is all ready to go."