Today I want to give you a little insight into one of our core philosophies here at IFAST:
Everyone is an athlete.
In fact, this is one of the most frequent questions I’m asked.
- What does being an athlete mean?
- And how can I say that everyone is an athlete?
These are great questions and ones that I want to answer for you today.
Growing up, I lived on a small horse farm outside of Muncie, Indiana.
And this was before the days of Netflix, Xbox, and hi-speed internet!
When I got bored at home, I had to do this crazy thing called “go outside and play.”
But I promise, I’m not bitter. I loved this because my boredom lead me to the great world of sports.
Over the years, I would take part (either formally or informally) in virtually every sport imagine.
Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, cross country, golf – you name it and I’ve played it at one point in time.
Basketball was my favorite for a long, long time though. And I remember my high school coach telling me one thing that still stands out today:
If you’re willing to let them, sports can teach you a lot about life.
That’s always stuck out to me, because it’s 100% true.
And after college when I got into the sport of powerlifting, I found it to be true there as well.
Much like sport, the tools you use to be successful in the gym can be applied to virtually any area of life as well.
So what does all this have with being an athlete?
I’m glad you asked…
What MOST Clients Really Want…
My coaching career started at Ball State University, where I trained athletes.
But my next two jobs were positions where I wasn’t training athletes, per se.
Instead, I was training what I would now call “Everyday” or “Corporate” athletes.
People that didn’t necessarily have a sporting goal to shoot for, but simply wanted to move and feel better.
A lot of my colleagues were training similar clients in one of two ways:
- They either trained them like bodybuilders, trying to add as much muscle as possible, or
- They trained them like powerlifters, trying to build as much strength as possible.
But my clients were saying, point blank, that those were not their goals.
However, many of them could point to a specific athlete and say, “I love his/her body. I’d like to look like that.”
And that was a BIG moment for me.
Most of the people I trained didn’t want to get huge, or freaky strong.
But they did want to look and feel athletic.
For men, this makes sense. Most guys could look at a guy like Terrell Owens or Herschel Walker and agree that they look fit.
But what I’ve found is that quite often, this is the exact look our females clients want as well.
They realize that a runway model’s physique often times isn’t attainable (due mostly to genetics), and that carrying some muscle isn’t a bad thing.
So training people like athletes wasn’t just what I enjoyed most.
In fact, training them in this fashion is pushing them in the direction they want to go aesthetically as well.
So the next question becomes, what is an athlete?
What is An Athlete?
Here’s the great thing about being an athlete:
Athletes come in a number of shapes and sizes.
Some are tall and skinny.
Others carry a lot more muscle.
But at the end of the day, there isn’t one shape or size that defines an athlete.
Furthermore, athletes possess numerous physical qualities or traits. The big ones are:
- Conditioning, and
Now you might not want (or need, or be able to) train all those qualities, and that’s just fine.
But chances are, we can and will find a way for you to train the bulk of them.
Now we know what an athlete is. The last question becomes, are you an athlete?
Are YOU An Athlete?
When I’ve had the “your an athlete discussion” with new clients, it typically goes in one of two ways:
- “You’re right! I’ve always been an athlete and I want to get that back.” Or
- “Mike I didn’t play sports, and I don’t feel athletic. How can you think of me as an athlete?”
And trust me, I totally get this.
I grew up around a wide mix of people, some who were naturally very athletic and some who had no desire to take part in sports.
But here’s one thing I learned by playing multiple sports – being an athlete doesn’t take a specific look.
It doesn’t mean being the fastest, strongest or most conditioned athlete.
Being an athlete is all about your mindset.
An athlete goes to practice every single day with a growth-based mindset.
They know that if they put in work every single day…
…if they commit themselves to the process…
…if they are unfraid (and actually willing) to fail…
….then ultimately, they will get better and better at their sport.
Doesn’t that sound a lot like what we do in the gym?
You’re not going to be perfect Day 1.
In fact, I’ll tell you right know there will be times where you’ll struggle.
If you commit yourself to putting in the work, committing yourself to the process, and being ready to fail, ultimately you will succeed.
Being an athlete is a mindset – to work, grow, fail and evolve every single day.
And I tell you what, if you can take those principles and apply them to the rest of your life as well?
I’m telling ya – that’s when the magic happens.
Hopefully this gives you a little insight into why I say everyone is an athlete.
Being an athlete isn’t about being the biggest, strongest, or most muscular person in the gym.
It’s not about looking a certain way, or carrying a certain body fat percentage.
Being an athlete is about having a growth-based mindset, and building a well-rounded and healthy body.
And if that sounds exciting to you, welcome to IFAST.