Out on the roads running an hour or two (or three) at a time, leaves one with a lot of time to think. A few days ago, I posted about me losing the calorie battle. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it's darn near impossible to think of oneself as an athlete. Most of us are subject to a mindset where we are all held captive by the idea that there is someone out there that is better than you. For instance, I am not an athlete, but ___________________ is -
In our fitness lives, it's clear that most people think in terms of fitness and weight loss versus "I am an athlete." This is a thought process I've been toying with and finally put words to following a long run with Brian last Saturday. I truly feel that if you're training for something to the extent that you're regularly measuring your performance (either by distance, time, or both) then your mindset needs to change. It needs to change from "I'd like to drop a few lbs." to "I am an athlete, and I need to fuel like one".
It's been my experience that if you train hard for an event, but think like you want to be fit and lose a few lbs, that sooner or later your body just can't keep up any more because you won't be giving it what it needs. Does this mean you just eat whatever you want? Umm, no...I wish that were the case (believe me!). It does mean that increasing your caloric intake with the right kind of foods will inevitably keep you fresher longer on runs (or during activity), and will help prevent injury. Remember - the body gets what it wants :)
I can't count the number of people that have said to me, "Boy, I need to start running." Maybe they do, maybe they don't - my advice will always be to find what it is that allows one to maintain a sustainable regiment of health. It may be running, it may be cycling, or swimming, or rollerblading, or Cross-fit...whatever... The bottom line remains that if you take up something that is sustainable to you, whatever that is, you have a better chance of understanding the link between body and mind, and you can begin to see a change. A change from the inside out - and yes, you may drop a few lbs on the scale, but -
It's only a number -
And there are numbers that matter much more than what the scale says.
Do yourself a favor - take the time to understand your goals. Maybe even set some if you never have before , and crystalize in your mind what outcome you're hoping for and treat yourself accordingly. Maybe you do want to lose 10 lbs or maintain a certain degree of fitness - that's cool, treat your body that way. Maybe it's that first 5K,or half-marathon, or full marathon, awesome - treat your body that way.
And, finally - watch out! You may be an athlete and not even know it -