Top 10 Ways to Live like an Athlete

Growing up as an athlete meant I always had a sense of identity. Everyone knew me as an athlete, and I knew myself as one. To be honest, I didn't really know myself as anything but ... a struggle that many athletes face that is all too real.

Good news though, just because your designated playing field disappears, doesn't mean your identity has to. With Training2XL, I refer to everyone as athletes though there is a difference. An athlete in sport is an individual that still participates in organized sport (at any level). There are uniforms, refs, whistles, plays, testing, sweat, triumph, heartache, etc. An athlete in life refers to someone that is on a mission to live their lives as the best version of themselves - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Just because there is no structured play, does not mean you have to give up living like an athlete, it just takes a different mindset. In the words made famous by Nike "if you have a body, you are an athlete."

Here are my top 10 ways to live like an athlete ...

(1) BE PASSIONATE.

Do something you love. Whether it's a job, or a hobby - be EXCITED about it. Have a desire to want to succeed. Is basketball your thing? Knitting? Running? Be fired up to work at it each day!

(2) Set goals.

Goals keep us focused and are a great way to track progression. Start by determining a long-term goal, then work backwards to writing a short-term goal that will help you achieve the further one. Then determine what you can day to day that will bring you closer to those goals. Quick tip - if your goals don't scare you, they're not big enough.

(3) Train hard.

If you're not actively participating in sport, then find an activity you enjoy to be part of your weekly routine. Find a program you love that will help you get stronger, or join a running club so you have company as you log km's each week. Just because you don't have a playing surface, doesn't mean you can't push yourself! Bring the intensity and it will pay off.

(4) Eat well.

It is important that we fuel ourselves for our daily activities. Eating a well-balanced diet full of WHOLE, REAL, UNPROCESSED foods will allow our body's to operate in an optimal state. Focus on consuming lots of vegetables, high quality protein sources, whole grains, and healthy fat sources.

Not sure of examples? Check my go-to athlete superfoods below!

(5) Sleep like you have a game the next day.

Everyone loves to sleep, but sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to get done everything we need to and make sleep a priority. Something I have learned in more recent years, sleep NEEDS to be a priority. So many wonderful things happen when we allow our bodies to rest and reset at night - digestion, muscle repair, and most importantly mental rest allowing us to be focused and sharp the following day!

(6) Make time for rest & relaxation.

Following the sleep segment, recovery and relaxation is also critical for our mental and physical health. This could be in the form of active recovery (foam rolling, brisk walk, yoga, etc) or mental recovery (reading a book, mediating, taking a hot bath, etc). Make time for recovery and your body will thank you.

(7) Balance.

Have something outside of your sport or activity. Plan activities with family and friends, have a lazy day, sit at a coffee shop to read for a couple hours, lay in your bed and take 10 deep breaths - find something to compliment your GRIND. You will learn to appreciate that time however short it may be. Balance can also refer to nutrition too ... sometimes you just have to eat the doughnut.

(8) Cheer on your teammates.

Mental health is very important. Having a strong support system is essential to working through difficult times and celebrating the best of times. Treat your family and friends like teammates, cheer them on when they need a pick-me-up and be there if they need some help getting up.

(9) Stay focused.

You have a goal? Go get it. Stay focused on the task at hand and be ready for whatever the game of life throws at you.

(10) Work hard & stay humble.

Being an athlete is a state a mind. It is a drive, a desire and a passion to succeed in any walk of life. You don't need to have a playing field to be an athlete, but you need to have the mindset. Remember that hard work pays off even when you don't see it right away.