I recently read an advertisement from a local gym, “CALLING ALL EX-ATHLETES”. If I ever waited for a call like that to make an attempt to pursue my athletic prowess as a maturing (eh hem) adult, I never would have responded because…I NEVER in my life considered myself an athlete. So, you may be surprised to find that I did play basketball for 3 years out of my high school career and was pursued by the women’s basketball coach in college to try out for the team, to which I respectfully declined saying something like, “My skills are not up to par with college level athletics.” I think the coach tried to encourage me otherwise but my lack of confidence was simply too strong to counteract the nudge she was giving me. I played college intramurals for one semester and thus ended my basketball career. I played ball. I loved it. I still never felt like an athlete. When is an athlete born? How long does it take? Is it ever too late to be one?
Becoming an athlete at any age
For me, being the best athlete I could be started with getting to a lean, healthy weight. I think this is important because many people put the athlete in front of their lean body which can end up at minimum in frustration if the goal is to lose weight and even worse in injury because the body just isn’t ready for that kind of force. My story begins with getting lean and that was the easy part! You can read more on that if you want to know how I did it. After a year of doing resistance training at home thanks to Jillian Michaels, Jackie Warner and various on-demand videos, I joined a gym. Sometime shortly after that my very first “gym selfie” happened. It was November 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM. I had an iPhone 3GS. I must have felt particularly strong that day. I smile at that girl in the mirror now because I was such a tiny, little thing. Was I an athlete? I don’t know but I felt like one. Did you catch that? I FELT LIKE ONE and that had never been true in my whole life. So, why is that important? Especially since years later one could arguably say that my physique reflects that of an athlete more than this girl in the mirror in 2011.
Here’s what I figured out. To become an athlete I had to BE an athlete. To BE an athlete I had to FEEL like an athlete. The first time I felt like an athlete did anyone else recognize that quality about me? No, but I sure as hell felt like one so guess what? I kept BEING one. So, much of becoming anything in life has to do with BEING. Am I at a lean, healthy weight? Maybe not but you get there by BEING healthy. Am I a fitness competitor? Maybe not but you get there by BEING consistent with your training. Am I the kindest person, best employee, student, parent, partner? Maybe not but I get there by BEING that in each next moment. Becoming these things requires being these things and at some point you have to take ownership in the process of “being” so that you “feel like” that which you are becoming.
Some people assume positions in life because those around them have reinforced their beliefs, “You’re beautiful. You’re a natural athlete. You’re talented. You’re intelligent.” but sometimes we have to start with zero reinforcements and wage our own battle through a lot of insecurities in the process. Just remember the state of BEING. Even if you’re not ready to say, “I am…” You still have to BE that to get the results.
BECOMING what you want to be requires BEING that. You have to own the process of “being” so that you can become.