Go ahead, call yourself an athlete
There are two kinds of people in the world of exercise, it seems. There are those who are really good; the kind you see on TV competing at an international level, or leading the pack at a local road race. And then there are the rest of us who, no matter how hard we try, may never excel at our chosen sport.
But not being the best doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your athletic endeavours seriously-or call yourself an athlete. After all, Merriam-Webster defines an athlete as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” Nothing in there about winning.
So what truly separates the amateurs from the athletes? It’s not how well you play; it’s how hard you try. Here are seven ways anyone can become an athlete-you and me included.
1. Find a sport you can be passionate about
Gym-going is a healthy habit, to be sure, but you won’t find many people devoting their lives to keeping up in step class. For real athletic potential, find a sport or activity you truly love and commit to getting better at it. As a bonus, doing something you enjoy will actually make you more successful because lower stress levels lead to better muscle recovery, according to Brendan Brazier, a former professional Ironman triathlete and author of Thrive Fitness. “If you enjoy exercising, your stress level is lower than if you’re trying to do things you dislike all the time,” he says.
2. Define yourself as a member of the community
What makes someone who runs a “runner?” It’s not the amount of miles they’ve logged-it’s the moment when they define themselves by what they do. The same goes for tennis players, figure skaters, rock climbers and yoga devotees: their sport is a part of their identity.