By Christie Poole
U.S. BMX Cyclist Arielle Martin was once told she would never compete again, but she now has her eyes set on bringing home a medal at this year's summer Olympics.
Martin is currently ranked number one in U.S.A. Cycling power rankings and is training six days a week with high hopes of representing the United States at the London Olympics.
"Whatever I believe is what is going to happen," she said of having faith in her abilities.
She enjoyed success from an early age, when she started riding BMX at age 5 and went pro at 16 while living in Utah. Shortly after, she began to experience setbacks that would jeopardize her career.
Martin lacerated her liver when she crashed at age 16 and had two stress fractures in her lower lumbar at 18. Doctors told her she wouldn't be able to compete again, but Martin didn't let their words stop her.
"I didn't want to let any doctor tell me I couldn't do something," she said.
Martin recovered and continued to race while finishing her education in exercise science at Brigham Young University, Provo. Martin's education helped frame the diet she sticks to today, which she said consists of natural, plant-based foods.
"For me it's a lifestyle," Martin said of the way she chooses to eat.
Martin said sleep is the most challenging part of living a healthy life for her. She said she struggles taking time off because she loves being physically active.
She also relates to the chocolate cravings many women experience. "I allow myself to have it in small quantities," she said.
Martin said the best thing for women to do is to realize that what they put in their bodies really affects how they feel both mentally and physically. "Take it seriously," she advised.
She believes people are too concerned about cosmetics and outward appearance. "I think a lot of people spend a lot of money on the outside, and really it's about what goes on the inside," she said.
"Care about what goes into your body," Martin added. "You can enjoy healthy things."
She advised women to avoid packaged and processed foods, and to stick with fruits and vegetables.
"It's so easy to grab a box, or grab a package of food," she explained. "But so much of it is artificial."
Martin said it's smart to "pack snacks and eat frequently" as opposed to eating three big meals a day. "I think the key is planning ahead," she said.
Although Martin is a professional athlete, she knows that motivation doesn't always come easily. She said to try walking or bike riding when first starting exercise.
"The first step is getting out there," she said.
Martin's goals don't stop at taking home a medal at this year's Olympics. She hopes to go back to school someday to earn a master's degree.
Martin said a simple phrase has motivated her to accomplish many of the great things she has.
"Belief=reality," she said were words printed on a poster of Marion Jones she use to have in her room.
Martin is currently half-way through the BMX qualifying process and is leading point selection so far.
Edited by Jody Smith
By Christie Poole