Are You an Athlete?

              When you hear the term “athlete”, what comes to mind? Do you picture world-class sprinters? Olympic powerlifters? Michael Phelps? David Goggins? If you tend to think of elite athletes when you hear the term, you’re definitely not wrong. These people train for countless hours every day, dedicating their lives to being the best athletes they can be. I wished to be one of those elite athletes, but I just really wasn’t that dedicated! Oops!

              But the real question is, are world-class athletes the only people to consider athletes? I would have to say “no”. Millions of people around the world strive to live healthy, active lifestyles. They may wake up at 4:00am to hit the gym before work or run outside to their gym garage at 9:00pm after the kids finally go to bed. Are they not athletes because they lack an audience? I’d say they absolutely are athletes. They still demonstrate a daily determination to push their own physical limits, striving to be the most active versions of themselves.

              This topic took me by surprise one day as I was talking to a woman about being an athlete. She told me I should take the picture of a woman doing yoga off my website because she’s not an athlete. I was taken a back, I had to pause to think of a coherent answer. I stopped and thought about why she would say that. After contemplating I realized that people outside the fitness community rarely view everyday people as “athletes”. To them, the only athletes are “professional athletes”. But to us, there are “professional athletes” and “amateur athletes”. I told her that anyone who leads an active lifestyle is an athlete. There are Yogis who can lift their entire bodies in ways I will never be able to do. That takes strength, flexibility, dedication, and perseverance to achieve. That doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes a significant amount of dedication of time and effort to achieve these types of feats. But, if they’re not in the fitness community, if they don’t understand the type of dedication it takes, then I can understand why they wouldn’t think of a yogi being an athlete.

              The moral of the story is, if you wake up everyday and you strive to live an active and healthy life, then you’re an athlete. Whether you go hiking, do yoga, hit the gym, mountain bike, or trail run, you are an athlete and you deserve that title. You’ve earned that title. Don’t let anyone take it from you. But, if you are encountered by someone who may not know this, just explain it to them. We don’t have to be defensive about our title, because it’s ours. We merely need to help others understand that you don’t need a world stage to be an athlete, you just need dedication. 

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