As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never thought of myself as much of an athlete. When I think about athletes, I think about someone who plays a sport. Or at least, I used to think that. Over the last few years, I’ve started to adopt a few different outlooks on life, particularly how I view myself and what I’m capable of – even if I don’t think I am!
My parents got me a Nike Dry Fit shirt for Christmas this year and it says “ATHLETE” on the chest. I had this moment of – “did you mean to give this shirt to someone else?” And then I realized it really was for me, and they had seen this shirt – thought of their daughter and bought it. I know that sounds really silly – but it meant a lot to have someone who has known me my entire life pick out a shirt like that for me. They have never gotten me anything like that before – I mean, work out pants, a hoodie – usual stuff. I brought it home and as I was putting it in my drawer full of work out/gym clothes, I wondered if people would laugh at me if I wore the shirt.
I know – I think crazy thoughts sometimes. I realize it’s just a shirt. But I feel like if you wear a shirt with a label people might assume you think that about yourself. Do I really think I’m an athlete?
I’ve been thinking about this question since Christmas, and I’ve been replaying all the things I’ve done in the past few years that might make me an athlete:
1) Trained hard for improved performance (taught myself how to run, swim & bike for a triathlon and 5ks)
2) Routinely practice my technique and coordination so I can continuously improve my group fitness class that I instruct on a weekly basis (TurboKick)
3) Push myself hard during every workout with a focus on being BETTER. Whether it’s practicing TurboKick, at my cycling class, lifting weights or on the stairmaster – I’m pushing myself to do more so I can go longer and harder next time and it will be easier for me.
4) I set goals for myself to achieve and revisit my goals often so I can see what I’ve accomplished and what I still need to work on
5) I encourage other people who are working toward their goals to keep going, keep pushing, and help them establish new goals if they need some support (team work!)
6) Lastly, I push myself to try new things that help me work on areas of weakness. For instance, I’m currently doing a hot yoga class that I honestly hate mostly every minute of…but I know I need to stretch myself (haha) and try new things to keep me balanced.
So while some of these items may not be completely in line with a formal definition of athlete…I think it’s enough for me to go on.
In fact, when I woke up this morning to go work out – I pushed aside all the plain jane work out shirts and found my ATHLETE shirt.
It just felt right.