I can only hope that you’ve taken a little something away from this Life As Your Sport series and you’ve begun to think about how you can eliminate the guesswork and apply this simple framework to create a structure, ‘cause that’s all it really comes down to – building a solid foundation and consistently reinforcing your base.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
2. Do what you can, not what you want.
3. Teamwork makes the dream work – find a community.
4. No one cares how much you lift – movement matters most.
5. Set goals. Get stronger.
6. Hire a coach and follow a program.
As much as I would love to hash out Life As Your Sport Parts 4, 5, 99, 400, etc. that wouldn’t help you – it’d be like the fitness magazine covers - saying the same exact thing 47 different ways, and I’m just not that into that.
But before we wrap this series we need to address three absolute necessities that are vital to this sport.
7. Nutrition - count your calories – manage your macros
Yes, I said it. Count your calories, and more importantly, learn to manage your macros (protein, carbohydrate, fat).
In both Part 1 and Part 2 I spoke about eliminating the guesswork and I’ll continue to here.
At some point in your life you should have a body composition analysis done to learn what your body is made up of – water, muscle and fat. Most people underestimate their body fat level and also have no idea that visceral fat can be measured. Seeing this on paper will give you the certainty needed to make and create healthful habits – without such information, you’ll consistently spin your wheels with little traction in attempt to achieve your ideal body composition.
With such information you’ll learn how many calories you need per day to preserve what you have. If you want to lose fat or add muscle, knowing the amount of calories you need to adjust is the foolproof way to actually making it happen. Otherwise, it’s like trying to bake a cake by eyeing the measurements. If it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted, you won't know where you need to make your adjustments.
After some practice, you’ll develop a keen eye for portion sizes and learn meal creation habits that will last a lifetime.
A strong nutrition foundation will provide a solid strength foundation, body composition, and stable energy balance.
Speaking of energy balance…
8. Energy (Balance)
Life as your sport goes far beyond sets, reps, and nutrition.
As we get older our hearing starts to go, and when hearing is impaired our balance is impaired. Yep, our hearing affects our balance. Therefore, jumping around, using one foot, continuing to go on hikes and jump over roots and rocks will actually help stimulate and enhance motor pathways to aid in your balance as you get older.
As for energy, and by energy I’m talking about mental energy, we have a lot of it for the things we love and very little of it for the things we don’t
Think of it this way, you’ll always be willing to invest time and energy into things you’re passionate about, like your children, friends, family, and a rewarding job. But the things on the opposite end of the spectrum are like an energy suck, stripping you of your motivation and leaving you feeling exhausted.
John Muir said it best, “in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” Same dude, he was an environmentalist, also said “keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
Which leads me to my last tip on dominating Life As Your Sport,
“If you don’t manage your time, someone else will.”
If you haven’t read the book Essentialism, go here now and send it to yourself. This is the only book I suggest and gift regularly.
Put everything I’ve mentioned in this series into action and dominate - Structure your life! Be you, do what you can until you can do what you want, be a part of a community, hire a coach, set goals, get stronger, don’t care how much you lift, be a pain-free awesome mover, be the strong friend/mom/dad, know your body fat, eat quality food, count your calories, and manage your energy.
That’s what your focus should be. ‘Cause let’s be real, going 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 last workout is only going to beat you up more and leave you feeling even further away from your goals than where you started.
The sculpted body or “athlete way” is focused and calm, rested, goal oriented, part of a team, passionate for the greater good, and led by a coach with a clear vision who knows his players better than the players know themselves.
Regardless of where you currently are, maybe it’s time for you to hit reset and redefine you as an athlete and the sport you play everyday.
That’s life; be creative, develop structure, play on, have fun.
The simplest way to begin evaluating your own life and the energy leaks is to keep a daily journal. I personally evaluate my day in 5 categories, my fitness, nutrition, work, father/husband, and sleep. If the five categories all score high, it’s evident that my mental energy is high.
This is your life, be Ambitious.