After training and competing in multiple sports I have come to consider myself an athlete. The issue is what does that mean? Does it mean I have a regular training regimen? Does it mean I have a special diet or that I worry about how much I weigh and how much I’m eating? Do I count calories? These are just a few of the questions I’m asked when people find out I train and compete in multiple sports. The following things ring far too true with amateur and professional athletes (especially women).
- I EAT A LOT! Bottom line if my body is expected to keep up with my training schedule I need to eat A LOT of food. This means proteins, carbs, veggies, fruits, all of it! If I want to get stronger and better at what I do then I have to eat. (and if you’re training a sport and that’s not your goal then what in the world are you doing?!) I always hear girls say “but you’re so fit why are you eating a huge steak dinner?” REALLY?! How do you think I have the energy to train 2 hours a day?
- Coach knows best. I think this is a concept people struggle with the most. To meet my goals in Kettlebell Sport and Olympic Weightlifting, I have to have a coach. Someone who I trust to program my workouts and critique my technique. This is far more than going to a gym and having a personal trainer tell you to do some sit-ups and squats. This is a person who becomes a friend, a person I trust and who is invested in my success. They really care about me and anyone else they coach for that matter!
- My workout schedule is not a joke. I can’t just skip workouts. I have a coach expecting me to report back about how I did. This doesn’t mean I cant move a day here and there to go to a concert or dinner with friends. What it means is if I want to reach my goals I have to put the work in. I can’t go out drinking every weekend. My body needs to be well rested and well fed in order to progress forward through the training schedule. Now this does mean I have to make sacrifices, I have to say no to friends who want me to go out all the time or come hang out during times I need to be training. I can’t do that, and I’m okay with it. I’m choosing to train and be an athlete.
- It’s not about a number on the scale. It’s not about how much I weigh or if I loose weight or not (this does not count cutting to weigh in for competitions). It’s about how much weight I can snatch on a barbell or how long I can snatch a 16kg kettlebell. My goals are not related to how I look but to how I will perform the day of competition. To be honest this is what gives me confidence in myself. Not what I see when I look in the mirror.
- I can never have enough sports bras or spandex shorts! This is one of the most true things about becoming an athlete. There really is a whole other wardrobe involved. I could happily spend my life in sports bras and workout leggings or shorts. As you start to gain muscle, things like jeans and blouses really start to constrict your range of movement. I mean being a small athlete (50kg and 5’3″) I can’t complain too much, but clothes just don’t always fit and definitely don’t always feel that comfortable. I’m most comfortable in what I wear in the gym.
- Is it all worth it? One of the most difficult things for me to explain to people is why I keep doing this. Why train so hard? I’m not getting paid to do this stuff. It’s all by choice and I already work a full time day job. There are many reasons why I keep training and keep competing. I have goals and I want to meet them someday. But the main reason is the level of self confidence I have received from doing all of this. Knowing I can push my body to do things that I never would have imagined has given me confidence I don’t think I ever would have been able to gain doing anything else. The thing about competing in sports is that you fail or succeed based on your own performance. You’re the only one who can control that. No one else can do the work for me or make me train everyday. I’m the one who controls my performance and there’s something very empowering about that.