Being a performance coach, I look at everybody as an athlete. Whether you’re a 15 year old football player, a 31 year old powerlifter, or a 65 year old recently retired shop-lady who has joined the gym to fill the gap in her days, you are an athlete, and you should think of yourself as such.
An athlete is either performing well, or they’re not. Either way it’s my job to improve their performance.
Regardless of what you do for a living, or how athletic you think you are or are not, here are 16 reasons why you should consider yourself an athlete and strive to be one daily:
An athlete has a good level of fitness. They train to be ready for every eventuality in their chosen field and have enough stamina to last the distance. Likewise, you should be able to sprint, jump, roll, climb hills, get up from the ground, for these eventualities will appear at some stage in life.
Athletes can hold off opponents, lift heavy loads, and master their own bodyweight. Strength is necessary in life. Daily you will be required to lift things and move things that will require strength. Make sure you have it. It also bulletproofs you from injury. If your strength training is causing your injuries, you’re doing it wrong.
“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.”
– Mark Rippletoe
Athletes move freely and easily. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Prioritise movement quality in your training and feel the difference. Also, being able to change direction swiftly, move out of the way of flying objects or flying fists can save you some bruises; just me… Ok.
Athletes walk tall. They have complete confidence in their abilities. Having trained for every eventuality they know they are ready, regardless of what comes. So walk tall. Swagger if you want. Fuck it, I do and I’m 5’6″ on a good day. The reason you can be confident is because you know you are prepared.
Competition is in the very nature of an athlete. They do not rest. They do not settle. And they…
Never accept defeat
They refuse to be beaten. Someone or something in life seems to be getting the better of you, how do you react? Do you roll over and give up, or do you fight with everything you’ve got until the end?
Keep your eyes on the prize. What is it you want more than anything? Got it? Ok, then why are you messing about with 100 other things that have nothing to do with your main goal. You want it? Don’t take your eyes of it.
“The goal is to keep the goal the goal.”
“If something is important, do it every day; if it’s not important, don’t do it at all.”
“Look at your goals. Look at your behaviour. Does your behaviour match your goals?”
– Dan John
Your sights are set on the target. Go for it. If necessary plot out the steps needed to get you there, but make sure you make the move. Don’t wait, do!
You have to work harder than your competition if you want to better them. This is not work for the sake of work, but work that will make you better at what you want to be better at. The most successful are often the hardest working.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
– Tim Notke
Keep going. No matter what, keep going. Life will get hard. There will be stress. There will be trial. There will be defeats and ridicule and really fucking hard times. That does not mean you are beaten. That does not mean you are a loser. Keep going.
Make the choice. If you dally too long the choice will be taken away from you. If it turns out to be the wrong one, then you know better for next time. If it’s the right one, you look like a genius.
Know what you want, and go after it. Break down what you ultimately want to achieve into smaller tasks and work to complete each one in a given timeframe.
It’s not enough to have your goals, it’s not even enough to go after them. Like it or not, ultimately you will be judged on your results. Did you achieve anything with all that hard work? If you complete each step of your task breakdown, you will have reached your goal.
Calm under pressure
When the heat is on, can you keep your cool? Can you still perform when the odds are stacked against you? Can you dig deep? Things won’t always go in your favour. You will have to conquer adversity.
Strive for excellence
Aim to be the best you can be. You may not be the best in the world but you can do your best.
Know who you are. Know your flaws. Know your weaknesses. Work hard to improve them. Help others along the way. No one is perfect, but be a decent human being.
These are some of the components of what makes an athlete. Looking back at the list, you’ll see that only the first 3 are physical traits, the following 13 are mental. None of them have to do with appearance.
All of these things are achievable to some extent for everybody. Will you be stronger in some than you are in others? Yes. Will you need to work really hard to see even slight improvement in some? Probably.
There is much more to being an athlete than physicality. Train your brain bruh.