MARQUETTE - Olympic-level athletes are so removed from our mundane, humdrum lives that we have nothing to learn from them, right?
Actually, "Wrong" would be the correct answer.
On Saturday, the locally based Cedar Tree Institute is holding one of its series of Iron Butterfly workshops with a U.S. Olympic Education Center athlete as the main presenter.
USOEC weightlifter Breanne Carlson of Peshtigo, Wis., will explain and lead participants in exploring how to regulate stress to maximize health and reach personal goals.
The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Presque Isle Park pavilion in Marquette. Cost is $65 per person that helps cover the cost of resource materials and rental of the facility.
This is the fourth workshop held during the past two years on mind-body training by CTI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing services in the areas of mental health, religion and the environment.
Carlson, 26, despite being just 5-foot-1 and 125 pounds, has placed highly at several national and international university-division events during the past several years. She also holds a master's degree from Northern Michigan University in exercise science and is an instructor in community health at NMU.
Saturday's workshop isn't about athletic performance, nor will it involve any lifting of weights, according to CTI Director Jon Magnuson, who will make a 20-minute presentation about motivational theory based on clinical research.
"Breanne will show how to mobilize the mind and the body to achieve goals in health and other targeted objectives," Magnuson said.
This comes from her Olympic training in reaching athletic goals, which can be applied to these worthwhile, everyday parts of our lives.
"Balance is the key, everything in moderation," Carlson said. "There is a difference between sports and health. Many elite athletes aren't doing things that are the best for their health because of the extremes necessary to compete at the top level.
"For good health, it is important to harness the energy in your body in a productive and efficient manner."
Part of that is harnessing "eustress" - the good stress - with the "distress" - the bad stress. That will be explained further on Saturday.
"You don't have to eliminate the distress. Instead, having a balance between the two definitely maximizes your performance."
Workshop participants will be invited to take part in visualization exercises and work on monitoring their own trigger behaviors in reference to the nervous system, according to Magnuson.
"The frontiers of medicine today deal with connecting the mind with the body," he said. "They are coming out of sports medicine, religious traditions and the martial arts."
Not only will participants be able to conduct these mind-body exercises, but small, one-on-one group discussions are included to study setting and reaching personal goals.
For more information, call Magnuson at 228-5494 or visit the website www.cedartreeinstitute.org.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.