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What does it take to become an athlete?

Since getting back to the yoga mat last week, I’ve been thinking a lot of athletes and what it takes to be athletic. I’ve often wondered if there was an athlete hidden somewhere deep inside me, and that if I would stick to anything long enough to see results, could I in fact, Imagebecome an athletic person?

Growing up, I was involved the typical sports that kids are involved in- t-ball, basketball, gymnastics, all varieties of dance, tennis swimming (ok…this one was only for a day, but still). I figure skated for about 12 years and even competed. Yet I never considered myself an athlete. I never really dove deep enough into any of these activities to see significant gains. The world of athletes always seemed distant and foreign to me, and I felt I didn’t belong.

But now that I’m diving back into the world of fitness and starting to get my booty moving again, I’ve been thinking more and more about what it takes to be an athlete. A quick Bing search (yep- I use Bing 🙂 ) of that very question produced a variety of articles- including one very asinine quiz to see if I had what it takes. I’m not sure how knowing that John Elway played his entire career with a torn ACL makes me more or less qualified to be an athlete, but sure.

Two ideas that popped up in most of the articles I read were dedication and logging your progress. Hmmm…I think I may have just figured out where my athletic aspirations have gone wrong. See, both of these things require a bit of patience- a virtue I am in short supply of. 

See, I want to be athletic NOW…I want to be able to do a pull up today and run a marathon tomorrow and stay in crow position for at Imageleast 5 minutes. The fact that I can barely do a push up or run a mile or even get into crow pose at all doesn’t seem to matter with me. And the people who can do all of the things I want to do dedicated years to their craft and trained to get to where they are, probably logging all kinds of information into excel spreadsheets to track their progress. 

Every once in a while these dreams of athletic greatness creep up inside me. I go gangbusters on some activity like running or yoga, only to give up in a couple of weeks because I wasn’t good or it was just too hard. This recent blog post from Fit, Feminist, and (almost) Fifty really hit the nail on the head. Sometimes we aren’t as fit as we think we are and have to start smaller or slower than we want. This is where things like patience, dedication, and tracking your progress come in. Just think of where I’d be if I had stuck to things I’d started in the past? Instead, I’m starting from scratch yet again today. 

So for now, I am storing away my dreams of athletic glory in favor of more attainable goals like being consistent, dedicating myself to improving my overall health, and tracking where I’ve been so I can see the big picture.  If I can keep those things in mind, fingers crossed there will be a future blog post about how far I’ve come.

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