In Life As Your Sport Part 1, I talked about how to avoid the mainstream mindset of thinking that you have to train like an athlete or go hard as hell every time you step foot into a gym, sweating and panting louder than the person next to you or even feeling more fatigued than your last workout in order to feel like you accomplished anything.

The framework I provided gives you a simple strategy for getting started or hitting the reset button and remapping your approach.

- Stop comparing yourself to others

- Do what you can, not what you want

- Teamwork makes the dream work – find a community

If you haven’t read part 1, read it here

But now it’s about the process, or journey as I like to call it. ‘Cause beaten, battered, exhausted, or dripping in sweat is NOT the athlete way or the blueprint of a sculpted body.

Read on - redefine you as an athlete and the sport you play everyday.

 

Life As Your Sport. 

4.    No one cares how much you lift – movement matters most

Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with someone I actually liked where the conversation involved how much I/he/she can lift. All that matters is that you want to get better, feel better, and move better.

Can you squat? do push-ups? pull-ups? lunges? help your girlfriend/boyfriend/friend move, take a outdoor adventure with your girlfriend/boyfriend/friends without the worry of throwing out your back, falling behind, or breaking a bone? 'Cause what we do in the gym should aid and benefit us for what we like to do outside of the gym. 

Movement matters most.

Bodyweight exercises are king and will be king for the rest of your life. Ask your parents.

 

5.    Set goals. Get stronger

Athletes do the exact same exercises you do as a foundation to their training program; they squat, lunge, pull-up, push-up, deadlift, step up, rotate, shuffle, etc. The only difference is that they either have a specific purpose of rehab, prehab (injury prevention), increasing strength, maintaining strength, losing body fat, adding muscle, increasing cardiovascular capacity, or just staying in the shape that they are in to maintain their level of play injury-free.

In short, they have goals specific for their purpose.

Your goals should include improving your movement foundation as listed above, (squat, lunge, pull-up, push-up, deadlift, step up, rotate, shuffle, etc.) and be strong enough that you’re able to step up and help a friend move, shovel your neighbor’s driveway, do a great outdoor adventure, or play a friendly pickup game without throwing out your back.

Mom/Dad, it’s about being able to play with our child at any given notice and not feel like you’re gonna need to pop six Advil before bed.

I can assure you that when you’re 35, 45, 55, or 65 years old, no one is going to be talking about their bench press; they’re going to be talking about their joints and how good or terrible they feel. 

George Bernard Shaw said it best, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we get old when we stop playing." This comes form the same guy who also said, "life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." 

Life goals should include the title of “the strong friend / Mom /Dad”. Start by building a solid bodyweight foundation. Contrary to what you may have heard, you can get plenty strong from bodyweight exercises. (Google “gymnast” for further reference – movement matters most.)

 

6.    Hire a coach and follow a program

Just do it. Simplicity is the key to brilliance - eliminate the guesswork or lack of motivation and let a professional help you.

A good coach doesn’t want to make things harder for you until you’ve proven that you can handle harder. A good coach will meet you at your current fitness level, help you make moving easier, simplify everything, teach you, and challenge you when he/she sees an opportunity for progression.

The cool thing about a coach and a program is that the coach is there to help you every bit of the way. It's likely that the coach has been there, done that, and can work with you to accelerate, slow, or supplement the program as he/she sees fitting to your current abilities.

 

As much as this is fitness related article, it is easily transferable across industries and hobbies.

Remember my photography example from Part 1? When I showed up to my first Instameet with my iPhone, no one pointed and laughed at me for using an iPhone camera; a lot of them were just like me and were just happy to meet someone new and nice. And that’s exactly how it is when you show up to a legit gym whose focus is to help you. No one cared what I was shooting with or my skill level. What mattered was that I showed up, tried, and began to learn the basics.

As for setting goals and becoming stronger; after meeting so many nice people and watching them work the angles to capture and frame a great photo, I saw what I was capable of with what I had, so I practiced more, observed more, asked more questions, and so on. 

In July of 2015, when I got my first big boy camera, I instantly reached out to a close friend to ask for help. While there was no program and I didn’t have to pay him but a few cocktails and dinner, he helped me better understand my camera much faster and easier than I would have after studying the manual a number of times – I eliminated the guesswork and let a professional help me.

 

Stop overthinking it. Get out there. Be you. Have fun.
Carmen Sturniolo