Last Saturday I competed in the first annual Nashville Fit Magazine FITTEST (Fit Test). The event entailed 10 different disciplines of power, strength, agility, and endurance.
I’m a coach. I’d like to think I’ve got the heart of a teacher. And though I do love teaching, I love learning, equally, if not more. But, I don’t wanna stop at the learning. I wanna know how I can apply what I learn, filter that information, and disseminate it to my clients and others at the right time in the proper amount.
I wanna share some things I learned this past Saturday. But, more importantly, how I’m gonna do something with what I learned. Remember: action is more important than information; doing is more important than knowing.
For the first time in a long time, Saturday, I felt like an athlete. I was an athlete. I AM an athlete. But somewhere in the last five years (when I stopped training for and running marathons), I forgot. I forgot how fun it was to compete.
Although the event was structured (and quite well, I might add), it was basically two hours of running, jumping, and throwing things. And I forgot how fun that is. Although I was the other athletes’ “competitor”, I was also their cheerleader. I didn’t forget how fun that was. Most days I get to cheer on some extremely motivated athletes—my clients. But it was no less fun.
What I learned is that I need to incorporate more “fun” into my workouts and make some workouts even less structured. I’m gonna incorporate more running, jumping, and throwing into my workouts. I’m gonna be more intentional about getting outside with my kids to play soccer, tag, and whatever else my kids wanna do. I’m even thinking about getting back into racing. (Shh, don’t tell my wife. She may not be ready to hear that just yet!)
Now, maybe incorporating more running, jumping, and throwing into your workouts (assuming you have “workouts”) may not be your definition of “fun” (I’m in an air quote kinda mood), but I’ve gotta believe there’s a way for you to get physical (cue Olivia Newton-John) and have fun. Maybe you’re due for a game of tag with your kids. Maybe a nature hike with your family or alone. Maybe you were a competitive athlete and could “lace up your shoes” again. Whatever it is, have fun!
Be careful with whom and how you compare yourself
My church’s curate, Kim Thomas, has a saying I often repeat. And I paraphrase, “Comparison leaves you feeling smug or small.” Saturday there were some beauties, beasts, and even a couple of teapots. (I need to be careful to make Disney character references as I’m kinda built like a candlestick.) Some athletes looked and performed much better than me. And some athletes didn’t.
Although I wholeheartedly believe comparing oneself to another can leave you feeling “smug or small”, I think, too, with the right mindset, you can dare to compare. But what will you do with that [comparison]? For me, I’m gonna use it as fuel to drive me as I prepare for next year’s event. Seeing athletes that are better than me doesn’t leave me feeling small, it inspires me. As for those that didn’t perform as well as me, I wanna inspire them, not look down on ‘em.
The most important comparison I wanna make, though, is to myself. I know what I did this year. I’m gonna train smart. I’m gonna train hard. I’m gonna say no to some things and yes to others in preparation for next year’s event. And I’m gonna smoke the me from this year next year!
Surround yourself with the “right” people
I loved, LOVED being around so many like-minded people. Being around them made me not only wanna do my best Saturday, but it makes me wanna do my best every day. The only problem is, I’m not around them every day.
I think of myself as an ember. When I’m around other fitness enthusiasts—other embers—I burn hot. We burn hot. But when I’m away from other “embers” that share an affinity to fitness and nutrition, I, like an ember that escapes the fire, quickly burn out.
I’ve heard this said so many times by so many people, I’ve no idea who should get credit, but “You’re the average of the five people you most hang out with.” Now, I don’t wanna bash on your family or friends, but take a long, hard look at ‘em. Ultimately, are they the person you wanna be? Are they the person that would take the time to read a fitness blog as you have? Admittedly, I’ve done no fact-checking, but if you hang with people who are fat, deconditioned, and unhealthy, there’s a pretty good chance you will be . . . if not already.
Now, is it possible to get healthy and fit while associating with those that are unhealthy and fat? Yes. But it will be a much, MUCH greater challenge.
When it comes to working out, I’m often a lone ranger. Although I’ve got a great deal of intrinsic motivation and do well working out alone, I can benefit from being around more people that share an interest in being a stronger, healthier version of ourselves. This year, I’m gonna find myself in more group events and classes.
Age is [mostly] a state of mind
Saturday, the youngest competitor was 18. The oldest was 60+. I don’t know his actual age, only that he was in the 60+ division. But, if I were a carny that could guess people’s ages, I’d guess he was pushing 80 . . . at least. Did he win? Uh, no. But if I’m running, jumping, and throwing things at his age, I’ll consider it a win!
“We do not cease playing because we grow old; we grow old because we cease playing.”
Are our bodies gonna wear down? Yes. Will an 80-year-old ever win the NFM FITTEST? No. But I’m gonna do my best to take care of this body God’s given me, so one day, 40 years from now, some middle-aged blogger can write about how he saw me running, jumping, and throwing some Saturday!