How to be a good athlete

How to be a good athlete

This article is about some qualities that great athletes have. It will teach you some useful words and phrases for describing people in English.

Some of these phrases apply only to athletes, but a lot of them can be used for talking about successful people in all walks of life.

Phrases for describing a great athlete

What does it take to be a world-class athlete? What qualities do you need to have? Here are some words and phrases to use when describing great athletes in English:

  1. It takes drive.
    You have to be driven to improve every day. You can’t be satisfied with your last performance.
  2. It takes discipline.
    You have to be disciplined. You have to follow a strict exercise and eating schedule.
  3. It takes competitiveness.
    You have to be competitive and want to beat your competitors.
  4. It takes self-confidence.
    You have to be confident in yourself and believe that you’re a winner.
  5. It takes aggressiveness.
    You have to make moves on your own, not just respond to what other athletes do.
  6. It takes focus.
    You have to be able to focus on the task at hand and tune out any other distractions.
  7. It takes commitment.
    You have to be committed to your sport. You have to give up other hobbies and interests.
  8. It takes good time management.
    You have to be able to manage your time well. You practice for hours and hours each day, on top of school, work, and spending time with friends and family.
  9. It takes some amount of raw talent.
    You have to be naturally talented at your sport. This is something that certain athletes are just born with.
  10. It takes determination.
    You have to be determined. You can’t give up, no matter how hard it seems. When you lose a match or miss a goal, you have to get right back up and try again.
  11. It takes a high tolerance for pain.
    You have to be able to put up with a lot of pain, from pushing your body to its limits.
  12. It takes adaptability.
    You have to be able to adapt to different situations and new information quickly.
  13. It takes emotional maturity.
    You have to be in control of your emotions. You can’t let yourself get too nervous, to angry, too depressed, etc.

Do you have many of these qualities? Can you think of any other qualities that it takes to be a champion? Write about them in the comments below!

Not too long ago, most people stopped being athletes during their teenage years or soon after college. Some athletes would go on to compete professionally, but that was very rare. However, today’s modern athletes are breaking that traditional mold. Now there are a number of types of athletes who are working professionals who also pursue their athletic goals and dreams. No matter the sport or the goal, the recipe for improving and success is very similar.

1. Write Your Sport Goals Down
Want to improve your half-marathon time, deadlift more weight or earn a championship win? It does not matter exactly what your goal is, what is important is how you plan on achieving it. By writing it down, you can revisit that goal in the future, either as a reminder of what you need to do to achieve it or as a motivator to get it done!

2. Eat Right!
Just because you might work out more than the average person does not mean that you can forgo healthy eating habits and gorge on junk food. You have to eat right. I am always weary of diets, templates and other cookie-cutter food plans. Take some time to do your research and look up credible, educated and scientific sources for advice. Avoid the fly-by-night food blog!

If you want legitimate one-on-one nutrition counseling, seek out a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians hold at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in an accredited nutrition and dietetics program, and they are also required to pass a national exam and most will have supervised practice experience in various health care settings. They can safely advise you about your nutritional needs based on your health, medical conditions and athletic goals.

3. Train the Basics
Successful athletes and coaches will agree that you are never too good to practice the basics for your sport. Quarterbacks and pitchers still warm up their arms with basic throws before games, runners practice their stride and pace and martial artists practice their footwork, body positioning and drills.

A good way to work it into your routine is to start and finish your training session with those basics. Make an effort to take five minutes before and after training to put it into practice.

4. Visualization
In sports psychology terms, visualization or imagery involves using all of the senses to create or recreate an experience in the mind. This is a powerful tool that can help to identify what you did incorrectly in previous performances and how you will fix it in the future.

Another benefit of visualization is that you can go through many different competition scenarios in your mind, creating different sequences and reactions in regards to performance. It may be easier to start visualizing your performance in general situations to start, becoming more and more detailed as you learn to put your visualizations to work on the field.

5. Cross-Train
Having a strong base in your sport is very important, but so is cross-training. Cross-training can help promote recovery, improve your overall fitness and ward off injury. A good place to start with cross-training is by working on several components of fitness, such as strength, aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, speed, balance, flexibility and agility.

And don’t forget to believe in yourself. Good luck to all of the weekend warriors and hard-core athletes as you pursue your goals this year!

How to be a good athlete

STACK Expert Robert Taylor offer 5 tips to help you improve as an athlete, become a better teammate and achieve success.

Whether you’re an athlete at the middle school, high school, college, pro or even international level, you need to work to get better, and the attributes you need to improve daily do not change. The influence you can have on your team, as a starter or a role player, can be immense when you follow these five tips.

A locker room full of teammates who are willing to work hard and work together every day at practice, even when not under the coach’s eye, is crucial to having a successful season. Realize that a good teammate doesn’t try to be the best player on the team; he or she focuses on being the best player for the team.

Whether you’re an athlete at the middle school, high school, college, pro or even international level, you need to work to get better, and the attributes you need to improve daily do not change. The influence you can have on your team, as a starter or a role player, can be immense when you follow these five tips.

1. Commit to the Team

A locker room full of teammates who are willing to work hard and work together every day at practice, even when not under the coach’s eye, is crucial to having a successful season. Realize that a good teammate doesn’t try to be the best player on the team; he or she focuses on being the best player for the team.

2. Put in Extra Time

Spending 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after practice working on your game will give you an advantage over the competition. Some players choose to talk about their day while they slowly lace up their shoes, or duck out of practice as quickly as possible. But realize that being different is just one level away from being great. Twenty minutes of additional practice six days in a row adds up to another full practice during your week. Work on your game and be ready for your big moment; or don’t and be ready for a teammate to take your spot in the lineup. Your choice.

3. Know Your Teammates

How you work with your teammates when things are not going as planned, as well as when things are going well, strongly influences how successful you and your team will be, and how far you will go as an athlete.

Great teammates are positive, supportive, understanding, forgiving and passionate about helping those around them achieve greatness. Learn about your teammates. Enjoy being around them away from practices and games. Sit with different teammates on road trips. Strike up conversations to learn about what motivates them. The time, effort and energy you put into reaching out to your teammates will come back to you many times over.

Being a good teammate isn’t a big thing; it’s a million little things.

4. Protect Your “Brand”

You may not be getting paid to play, but you can always act as if you had a one-day contract worth $1 million. How hard would you work to have your contract renewed tomorrow? Would you eat healthier, hydrate more often, sleep better, practice harder, listen with more intent, be a better teammate, and not be a distraction when away from the team?

Realize that regardless of whether you are playing in a middle school tournament, have been invited to a high school invitational, or get selected all-conference in college, people are watching. You are a brand, and you want to be seen in a positive light. You have to become a brand worth investing in.

5. Understand the Process

“When you are not getting better, you are getting worse” is a cliché that may intimidate many athletes. Be prepared to practice better, improve just one rep each day, and push yourself outside your comfort zone. If you are lucky enough to be around a coach who pushes you, holds you accountable, and may even be demanding at times, consider it a gift. He or she probably see something in you that you don’t yet see in yourself.

Stay positive and believe in the process. No successful athlete ever started out that way. They all found it in themselves to make their bad days better and draw confidence from the days when they did well. You are never as bad as your worst day, and you are never as good as your best. Find it in yourself to stay level-headed and hungry to become more for your coaches, teammates, family and yourself.

Editor’s Note: Check out Coach Taylor’s SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series here.

When I started my career in sports law in 1975 by signing the first pick in the NFL Draft — Steve Bartkowski, quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons — to the largest rookie contract in football history, sports representation was in its infancy.

Most athletes represented themselves or had their fathers help them, and teams were under no obligation to interact with agents. Owners such as Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals would simply announce, “We don’t deal with agents,” and hang up the phone.

The two expansion franchises that entered the league in 1976 had purchase prices of $16.5 million. Each team received $2 million as its share of the national television contract, and the average player salary was $30,000. There has been a revolution in agentry and economics in the past 36 years. The average NFL franchise is worth a billion dollars, teams receive $130 million from national television and the average salary exceeds $2 million.

As I have spoken on more than 75 campuses — to student bodies, law school, business schools and masters programs — a career in sports is the No. 1 goal of ambitious students. We can blame or credit the three years I spent with film director Cameron Crowe, guiding him through and telling him stories about football representation for “Jerry Maguire,” with spurring some of the excitement.

Thousands of agents and financial planners attempt to sign every rookie entering professional sports. Each of the pro sports’ players associations certify the agents representing its athletes. Agents must pass background checks and agree to be bound by ethical standards. Financial planners are not subject to mandatory certification, but the NFL has a voluntary program to mandate standards for professionals handling athlete’s money. But anyone can try to recruit an athlete on a college or high school campus — and many thousands of “runners” who steer athletes to agents are active throughout the country.

Certain states such as Florida and Texas have state regulation requirements so stringent that agents have been sent to jail. California has a state program to regulate athletes.

I’m asked many times daily how someone can break into the field.

Start by forgetting every hoary stereotype and most conventional wisdom about representation. Agents have distorted their real purpose by narrowly focusing on simply stacking more dollars into a player’s bankbook and publicizing themselves in bitter public negotiations.

Athletes have short playing careers and the specter of injury is ever present. Quality representation focuses on a holistic approach to second career and life skills.

There is an obligation to truly understand a young man or woman’s greatest hopes and dreams and most limiting apprehensions and fears. This process can be initiated by asking an athlete to be internally introspective and evaluate their own goals and priorities.

How critical are values such as:

•Short-term economic gain?

•Long-term financial security?

•Geographical location — weather, urban/rural lifestyle?

•Profile and endorsements?

Then inventory sports priorities:

•Playing surface and facilities.

Ranking and valuing these priorities will add clarity in decision making and help the agent actualize a client’s dreams. (“Help me, help you.”)

I ask every athlete to be a role model. They must be able to permeate the perceptual screen that people erect to filter out messages from authority, political and commercial messaging and influence values.

I ask that athletes view themselves as active citizens and return to their high school, collegiate and professional communities and set up charitable and community foundations that enhance the quality of life and allow them to leave a legacy.

Establishing these programs helps stimulate values such as spiritual sense, a sense of self-respect, nurturing family and supportive community. My staff and I worked hard every offseason to prepare athletes such as Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Steve Young and Lennox Lewis for possible careers in business, broadcast and coaching.

I have also tried to spur awareness and research into the causation and treatment of athletic injuries, especially concussion, with an understanding that most athletes are caught in a pattern of denial and distorted priorities when it comes to protecting their health.

Agents also have a responsibility to help build the sports of the players they represent. Professional sports is not a vital life necessity like food or transportation. Sports depend on the support of fans who choose to spend revenue on products and attend and watch games.

We can damage that relationship by acrimonious public or player negotiations that rub excess greed in the faces of fans.

The average family income in California is $43,000, with average debts of $78,000, according to an excerpt from “Boomerang,” the book by Michael Lewis I just read. Don’t expect fans to sympathize with an athlete who is “only making $10 million, when he deserves 15.”

The real battle of sports is not labor versus management, but the struggle of a sport like football to attract fans away from baseball, basketball, HBO, Disneyland and every other source of discretionary entertainment spending. The real energy in sports needs to be devoted to building brand identity and popularity to stimulate every ancillary revenue flow and build a bigger pie.

The agents who feel the need to take the spotlight away from their players and turn the focus to their own macho negotiating skills do a disservice to the profession.

How to be a good athlete

Existing Initiatives

We’ve been all over the world supporting future leaders – from Chicago to Boston, Haiti to Ireland, California, Colorado, and everywhere in between! So far, we’ve supported thousands of athletes and coaches, and we’d be excited to support YOU! Reach out to get the Good Athlete Project on your campus.

“The Good Athlete Project has changed our students’ mindsets and improved ACT scores 3.3 points. We love these guys!” – LaVonte Stewart, Lost Boyz, Inc (Chicago)

How to be a good athlete

How to be a good athlete

What is a Good Athlete?

Have you ever shown up to a biology class shaking with excitement? because that will happen every Friday night this fall as High School football players prepare for their games. The platform of athletics is undeniably powerful, and we are on a mission to be sure it is used to its full potential. Through the lens of cognitive neuroscience and social theory, we capitalize on one’s desire to be Good Players to ensure they become a Good People.

We use research-based methods to teach for those things in life that truly matter: character, leadership, grit, growth mindset, conscientiousness, and yes, kindness. Contact us to find out how we can support your team!

How to be a good athlete

Bring the Project to your school!

Reach out to discover how you can get the Good Athlete Project on your campus. We offer team workshops, professional development presentations, and highly individualized consultation to ensure you see the results you are after!

How to be a good athlete

A professional athlete competes individually or as part of a team in organized sports including football, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, running, skiing, hockey, rugby, gymnastics, figure skating, and baseball. He or she practices and trains regularly to improve his or her skills and performance. Very few athletes actually make it to the professional level. Those who do, reach this achievement only after years of playing school or club sports.

Quick Facts

  • Professional athletes earn a median annual salary of $47,710 (2016).
  • Nearly 11,800 people are employed as professional athletes in 2014 (2016).
  • More than half work in the spectator sports industry.
  • The job outlook for professional athletes is good, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The government agency predicts employment is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations through 2026. However, competition will be as fierce as always since more people want to become professional athletes than there are jobs available.

How to Get Your Start

Athletes who compete in team sports, such as football, hockey, baseball or basketball, get their training by participating in high school, college, or club teams. Other athletes, including tennis players, golfers, swimmers, bicyclists, runners, and gymnasts, receive private or group lessons as part of their training.

What Soft Skills Do You Need to Succeed in This Career?

If you want to compete professionally, you will need superior skills, extensive training, and dedication to a particular sport. You will also need soft skills that you won’t necessarily acquire through this training.

  • Interpersonal Skills: Athletes must work well as members of a team, particularly those whose sport involves doing that
  • Concentration: A strong ability to focus is essential.
  • Decision Making: You must be able to make decisions in an instant while on the field or court.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination: In many sports, you must have the ability to match your hand and eye movements.
  • Physical Stamina: As an athlete, you will need the endurance to stay physically active for long periods.

The Downsides of Being a Professional Athlete

  • Expect to work when the public typically has the time to watch sports, for example, on weekends and holidays.
  • Your work schedule will be unbalanced. Athletes train, travel, and compete extensively during the season for their sport but have a lot of downtime at other times of the year. For example, baseball players are very busy between March, when Spring Training begins, and October, when the Major League season ends.
  • Professional athletes can sustain injuries that will end their careers. Have an alternative career to fall back on after you retire from your sport.

Common Misconceptions

  • You will get to “play” all the time: While it may seem like athletes earn money while having fun, they also dedicate a lot of time to training for their sport.
  • A professional team will draft you: Most people who aspire to be professional athletes don’t make it. Many who get drafted by minor league teams do not end up in the majors.
  • You will make a lot of money: High profile players like Steph Curry have multi-million dollar contracts but his lesser-known teammates earn only a tiny fraction of that.
  • You will be famous: Have you heard of Eli Manning? The New York Giants’ quarterback is a household name. Now, do you know who Weston Richberg is? No? You’re not alone. He was the team’s center before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. As Manning’s teammate, he was on the field whenever the quarterback was, but like most pros, he isn’t famous.

What Can You Do When You Retire?

Even if an injury doesn’t end your professional career, you won’t be able to, nor will you want to, compete forever. Athletes retire at relatively young ages and most want to continue to stay active.

  • Coach: Teaches amateur and professional athletes the fundamentals of a sport.
  • Scout: Recruits players for school and professional teams.
  • Fitness Trainer: Instructs people in exercise and related activities.
  • Sports Announcer: Narrates games, provides commentary and interviews players.
  • Sports Reporter: Delivers news stories about sporting events on television and radio news, online and in newspapers.

Is This Occupation a Good Fit for You?

Before you decide to become a library technician, especially if you are going to invest money in degree or certificate, make sure it is a good match for your interests, personality type, and work-related values. If you have the following traits, you may enjoy working in this occupation:

Yes, it’s fun, but the mind-body benefits of dance translate into greater fitness gains too.

Dancing is fun-there’s no debate about that. That’s probably why more adults are turning to ballet, jazz, and tap for a fun workout. But as it turns out, dance can also make you a better athlete overall.

Take Alberto Ortiz, founder of Work Train Fight, who’s an accomplished boxer *and* salsa dancer. He says that dancing helped him become a better boxer, which might sound strange, but it makes a lot of sense: “Salsa teaches you to read your partner’s body language and makes you more aware of your own body, which translates to the way you analyze and approach your opponent in boxing,” he says.

He’s not the only one who reaps benefits from his commitment to dance. “Dancing has made it a lot easier for me to pick up tennis and skiing,” says Katia Pryce, founder and creator of DanceBody. “My balance and lower-body strength are insanely good because of dancing, which is important in skiing.” As for tennis: “I’m so aerobically conditioned in terms of lateral movement that getting to the ball is the easy part. The hard part is hitting it correctly!”

Dance experts say you can reap similar benefits even if you’re not a pro. Here’s how even the occasional dance class can make you a better athlete.

The Physical Perks

Stronger feet: “Across the board, dancing helps make your feet stronger,” Ortiz says. “Our feet are the foundation of pretty much all of our movement.” Regardless of your sport of choice, having strong feet-that you can balance on-is an asset.

Better endurance: “From a cardiovascular standpoint, dance is superior because of the high aerobic component,” Pryce explains. Plus, for some people, it may be easier to work harder for longer while dancing. “When you’re dancing, your mind is distracted and you’re enjoying the movement; you’re not thinking about how fast your heart is beating, whereas on a treadmill you’re likely counting down minutes.” Pryce isn’t the only dancer who has noticed this. “When I’m consistently dancing, my endurance steps way up,” says Lauren Boyd, cofounder of Dance Fit Flow. “In a dance class, I forget that I’m working out for an hour or more, but that consistent cardio really makes a difference over time.”

Flexibility: You probably could have guessed this one, but it’s important. “The degree of flexibility will vary based on dance styles. However, you can’t deny that dance has flexibility benefits,” Ortiz says. “Whether it’s doing a high kick, a dip, or upper-body movements that challenge your everyday posture, flexibility is a must, because no one likes a stiff dancer.” Pryce also says she notices that her flexibility earned from dancing helps her out in other types of fitness classes. “I love to hit up a yoga class to feel a long-held stretch and length in my body-a great synergistic counterpart to dance! I go very infrequently, but every time I go, the teacher thinks I’m a yogi because of my hyperflexibility.” (Not sure if you need to improve in this area? Take our flexibility test to find out.)

Bodily awareness and coordination: Dance strengthens your mind-body connection. “Learning how to isolate certain parts of your body and understanding your center of gravity are two huge benefits that translate into your athletic performance,” Ortiz says. Boyd agrees, noting that “there are big, intricate movements in dance, and your brain is processing those and helping you execute them. You’re aware of where you want your body to go, and how you want it to move. Over time, you find yourself thinking less and just getting after it! Catching on to activities or workouts with patterns, rhythm, or beats will come a bit easier for dancers.” Think: Killing it in spin class.

How Dance Helps You Get Your Head In the Game

Confidence: “I’ve met people who declared they’d ‘never dance,’ but then gave it a shot, and now they’re hooked,” says Pryce. Confidence plays a role not only in feeling good about yourself and your body, but also your willingness to try new things or pursue physical goals-like finally hitting that PR you’ve been after.

Social connection: “Expect to meet and connect with the people around you,” Pryce says. “Dancing is a communal sport. Our ancestors did it as a way to bond and celebrate, so we are hardwired to want connection through this type of movement.” When you think about it that way, it’s pretty tough to not want to at least try it out. “Like attracts like, and the people coming to these classes crave connection and companionship, not just a solo treadmill experience.” Fit friends are likely to keep you coming back for more, so don’t discount the power of the new gym buddies you might find through dance.

Awareness of your surroundings: “In the boxing ring, I’m always preaching the importance of knowing where you are-if you know moving to your left will make you run into the corner and get stuck, then move to your right instead,” Ortiz says. “In salsa, even though you’re super focused on your partner, you also need to make sure you are aware of your space; running into a bar or other dancers never feels good.” The ability to read your surroundings quickly can benefit you in pretty much any sport, from running to cycling and even weightlifting in a crowded gym.

Where to Start

Okay, so you’re ready to give dance a try. But what kind? Experts say the type of dance you go for doesn’t matter as much as you might think, but here are some suggestions based on where you are in your fitness journey and what you’re looking to get out of it.

If you’re already an athlete: Dance Cardio

“I think for people just learning to find their ‘tiny dancer’ inside as an adult, dance cardio is truly where it’s at,” Pryce says. “It’s zero pressure; you just keep moving! It’s dance blended with fitness, so there will always be parts that you can pick up right away (burpees, planks, lunges, etc.) and feel good about.”

If the mental benefits are most appealing to you: Salsa

“In salsa, you have a three-way connection: yourself, your partner, and the music,” Ortiz says. “You need to control your body while making sure it’s in tune with the music and reacting to your partner. Talk about multitasking.” Plus, salsa music is a mood booster. “Have you ever heard salsa come on, and the next thing that happened was that you got depressed?” Ortiz asks. Probs not.

If you’re invested in dancing more: Ballet

“Ballet is known throughout dance as being the building block of dance technique,” says Kerri Pomerenke, cofounder of Dance Fit Flow. “Just be sure to find a class that suits your experience level.”

No matter which style you choose, expect dance to be an athletic challenge you can meet head-on, even if you’re already pretty fit. “Athletes usually get more frustrated than the average person, because they hold themselves to higher expectations to get the movements right,” Ortiz says. “However, one of the biggest lessons in dancing is: CALM THE F*CK down, relax, and have some fun. There is no winning, just positive exchanges of energy.”

I used to think the athlete gene skipped me.

I grew up in a family that always prioritized sports and athletic activities. My mom always found time for exercise, and my dad is an endurance athlete and continues to do everything from skiing, to 50+ mile bike rides, to kiteboarding and more. Both my siblings excelled at sports in high school, and my brother even played college basketball.

I played sports in high school, and although I was never bad at basketball or soccer, it was also clear that neither was my calling. So when I went off to college I gave up all sports and anything even remotely athletically-related, resigned to thinking that I would be a weak, uncoordinated, non-athletic person for the rest of my life. And even when I got over that foolish belief and became a personal trainer while living in Amsterdam, I remained unconvinced of my athleticism and was constantly worried people would see through my facade and realize the fraud I really was.

Luckily, although it’s taken years longer than it should have, these days I finally believe deep down that I truly am an athlete.

In fact, I strongly believe that everyone is an athlete.

If you’re thinking, “no way Krista, I am definitely not an athlete,” trust me, I know how you feel—and I refuse to believe you. If you feel this way, you just haven’t discovered your potential as an athlete—yet.

But if you’re finding more and more that you’re actually enjoying your workouts and get excited to work on new skills like handstands, pull ups, or whatever your current fitness goal is, congratulations—you have officially embraced your inner athlete.

Here are four telltale signs you know you’ve finally embraced your inner athlete:

You Care About Performance More Than Appearance

When I used to only work out just to try and lose weight or work off last night’s pizza, my only focus was how my jeans fit and how small the number on the scale was. Sure, I always had somewhat of a competitive side and would always try to work harder than everyone at spin class or run faster than the other joggers around me, but ultimately what I really cared about was my appearance and health.

Yet as I got more into HIIT and became interested in sports like boxing, Krav Maga, and bodyweight training/calisthenics, something slowly started to shift. I began to work out not just to feel confident in my own body, but to get better at my sport. I became less concerned with the scale and more about how my workout would make me a stronger, better athlete.

So when you notice yourself caring more about how your workouts will affect your sport or fitness goals rather than how many calories you’ll burn, you’ll know you’ve officially embraced your inner athlete.

You Focus on Building Skills (Rather Than Just Getting Your Workout Over With)

Like most people, I used to absolutely dread my workouts (especially when running was my only form of exercise). At that time, my entire focus would be on getting my workout over with—the sooner I could be done with it, the better.

But as I started to have more and more athletic and fitness goals and began wanting to conquer cool exercises like handstands, pistols, and gymnastics skills, something changed. My workouts started to feel more like play time, a time to experiment and see all that my body could accomplish. They became less torture and more fun.

If this sounds crazy to you, just try and think about something you enjoy and how it seems to transport you to a space where it feels less like work and more like fun. It could be anything—dancing, ultimate frisbee, rock climbing, skiing, you name it. We’re all good at different things, so don’t limit yourself to the belief that you’re only an athlete if you’re good at traditional sports like football or basketball.

Because when you start wanting to build skills or get excited about working towards a cool fitness goal, no matter what your current level—you’re officially an athlete.

You Start Treating Food as Fuel

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to treat calories as the ultimate enemy. Back when I would work out just to lose weight, I had an extremely unhealthy mindset that the less I ate, the better. In my mind, food was evil, and the less calories I consumed, the better of a person I was.

Obviously, this is an extremely unhealthy take on food and I hope that all of you are smarter than me and have never had such a negative relationship with food. Yet the ironic thing is that once I started treating food as fuel for my workouts and life, not only did I actually get to eat more than ever, I was able to maintain a level of leanness I never could before.

So that moment that you start thinking of food and how it will affect your workouts, your mood, and your mental sharpness, that moment when you embrace food as the way to getting stronger, fitter, and more athletic—that’s the moment you know you’re an athlete.

You No longer Look Forward to Rest Days

Like most people, rest days used to be my favorite days of the week. I would look forward to not working out, being lazy, and pretty much not moving all day long.

But two things started to happen:

First, I started to actually get disappointed that I wouldn’t get to work on whatever skills I was currently focusing on. This was a completely new concept to me, that a person could actually look forward to their workouts and regret the days that they couldn’t work out.

Yet as I came to accept more and more that I really was an athlete, this began to make much more sense. When you have a goal and something to work towards, it’s much harder to take any time off (though it’s absolutely necessary, so don’t skip it).

Second, I started to miss the mental and physical benefits I got from my workouts. I realized that on days when I worked out I felt clearer headed, less anxious, and more confident. I felt like I could deal better with any tough thing that came my way, and nearly always felt less stressed and more energized after my workout than I did before it. I realized more and more that my workouts had become a sort of meditation for me, a chance for me to feel “in the zone” and forget about anything else I had been worrying about.

So when you start looking more forward to your workout days than your rest days, you’ve officially embraced your inner athlete.

You Are An Athlete

No matter what your current fitness level, you are an athlete.

If you move, you’re an athlete.

If you try, you’re an athlete.

If you think you’re an athlete, you are one.

“If you have a body, you are an athlete.” – Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike