Becoming an Athlete at Any Age

by | Feb 11, 2017 | Blog, Featured, Health & Fitness, Mindset

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I once read an advertisement from a local gym titled, “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 and I loved it but still never felt like an athlete.

This call for “ex-athletes” got me to thinking…when exactly does an athlete become an athlete? Are they just born that way, or have a natural propensity? Is it because they started at a young age? If there’s a chance for those of us who come by athleticism later in life, how long does it take to become an athlete? Is it ever too late to be one? Maybe the bigger question is, do you have to be really good at playing a sport, lift heavy weights, or run marathons to be considered an athlete?

Define YOUR Starting Point (not someone else’s)

For me, phase 1 of becoming an athlete started with getting to a lean, healthy weight when I was 35 years old. To be clear, I wasn’t trying to be athletic, but I was tired of previously unsuccesful weight loss attempts and my own lack of confidence. This was an important step for me because my previous efforts at workouts and long duration cardio never yielded weight loss results. Even though it might sound counterintuitive, my athletic journey begins with getting lean through major nutrition changes. When I had success in this area, my confidence skyrocketed. That confidence began to transform me into a more focused, goal oriented person.

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My First Gym Selfie And Why It Mattered

After a year of doing resistance training at home thanks to various on-demand videos, I felt that it was time to push myself further. I nervously joined a gym in an effort to have access to equipment I didn’t have at home, and MAYBE participate in group classes at some point. None of these were things I had much, if any experience doing.

Then one day at the gym I was feeling something…some kind of new confidence and excitement. I took a quick look around and was pretty sure no one was watching so, I snapped a quick pic in the mirror. It was then that my very first “gym selfie” was born. It was November 3, 2011 at 11:46 AM (it’s an iPhone 3GS).

Did my first cliché gym selfie make me an athlete? No, but the important part is that in the moment I felt like one. Did you get that? I FELT LIKE ONE and that had never been true in my whole life. So, why is that important?

Becoming An Athlete At Any Age And At Any Fitness Level

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 notice? Probably not but I wasn’t concerned about that. I finally felt worthy of being one because I was setting and accomplishing goals, so guess what? I kept right on BEING an athlete without any sort of distress in regard to what anyone else was thinking of me.

This relates to life in a much bigger way than just athleticism, physical coordination, or consistent workouts. A critical and necessary part of becoming anything in life has to do with BEING. Are you at a lean, healthy weight? Maybe not but you get there by BEING healthy. Are you a fitness competitor? Maybe not but you get there by BEING consistent with your training. Are you the kindest person, best employee, student, parent, partner? Maybe not but you 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.

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Dawna Stafford Music

Dawna is a northwest singer-songwriter and cover song artist based in Spokane and Northern Idaho. Described as a folk-rock star, her acoustic arrangements and vocals are soulful and raw. Her style is an upbeat fusion of modern folk and light rock, delivering live performances that are fun, diverse and relatable. Audiences love the dynamic range from upbeat and tempo driven to melodic and thoughtful. Dawna is a versatile artist who knows how to engage and entertain people with a mix of both originals and familiar cover songs that span the decades.