Part 6 of 6 –“It’s an Inside Job!”
If you have begun to use the first 5 Tricks I have offered you, odds are you have already begun to feel healthier and look leaner. Your Fitness Avatar will reflect your goals. Mindful eating will enhance your choices. Willingness to be Honest with yourself about your efforts and choices will define your path. Eating Lean and Green in every circumstance will define your body. Scheduling your Workouts will ensure your consistency. What could possibly add to these actions and make ANY Diet Work for YOU? It’s the one trick that makes all the other ones work on an entirely different level:
Trick #6: Find Your Inner Athlete!
I don’t know about you, but no one has been hounding me to try out for his professional sports franchise. I will never compete in the Olympics, nor will I be remembered for any great physical feat that has stunned the world. But I do consider myself an athlete, and I’ll tell you why: I have discovered that part of myself that loves to be physically active, and I cultivate and nurture that inclination as though it were one of my life’s missions. It keeps me vital, engaged, and feeling a lot younger than my actual years!
Someone very wise told me years ago, “Your body WANTS to work.” And that’s true. Humans are very physical beings. We were created to run through the forest, hunting down our food. Instead, we take something out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave. We were created to fight for our existence, to chop wood and carry water. Now the only fighting most of us do is through pushing the buttons on our video game controller. Instead of pushing a plow, we push a pencil, or simply spend hours at a desk, while any muscle mass we might have dwindles further and further away.
This is not the life that we were created to live! As we grow older, our bodies decline not from overuse, but from LACK OF USE. I am not judging here! In my misspent youth, you have never met anyone as lazy or fitness-averse as I was. Luckily I learned how to be active—see the “About Nancy” page on this website—and ultimately began to understand how being fit and healthy could impact my life in amazing ways. That is when I started treating myself like an athlete.
Athletes treat themselves differently than most of the population, especially professional athletes. A typical day in an athlete’s life might consist of hours of workouts, both strength and skills training, fueled by a diet with an exacting and precise macronutrient ratio designed to enhance their performance and recovery. While most of us don’t build our lives around our physicality, there is an element here that I find very useful:
Imagine if you were to try to live the life of an athlete for one day: What would you have for breakfast? Would you skip it altogether and just get by on coffee loaded with sugar and cream? Would you leave your workouts to chance, thinking maybe you might fit one in if you had time? Would you choose chips and soda for lunch if you knew that you had to function at an elite physical and mental level, later that same day? Would you eat and drink great amounts of foods with empty calories, foods that were highly processed with additives and preservatives? Absolutely NOT!
If you were an athlete, you would choose a breakfast with enough protein, carbs, and fiber to power you through the morning. If you were an athlete, you would make certain that your time for working out was scheduled in red on your calendar, affording you time to build muscle and strengthen your heart. If you were an athlete, you would drink enough water to fully hydrate your body, enhancing your mental clarity and your energy. You would choose the healthiest, the most nutrient dense foods, knowing that how you care for your body directly impacts your cognitive awareness, your emotional stability, and the quality of your relationships and your life.
I spent the first quarter of my life believing that getting in shape was impossible for me. In finding my “inner athlete,” I proved myself wrong! How do you find YOUR “Inner Athlete?” Simple. Act like one. Make the fit choices, eat the healthy food, and before long, it will become a part of you. Each of the Tricks outlined in this series is designed to get you closer to your Inner Athlete. Making exercise and healthy eating a part of your life, behaving like the athlete you were born to be, will change the way you THINK about food, fitness, and possibilities.
In a world where just day-to-day living can feel like a full-contact sport, doesn’t it make sense to be the best athlete you can be?
As always, I welcome your questions and comments! Nancy@N2Fitness.com