Far too often, I’ve had clients come to me who are confused with the difference between sports and health. Let me start by saying that in no way should the sport you’re playing be mistaken for exercise and wellness. Understanding the difference could be the determining factor for your health and longevity.
Over the past few years I’ve had many conversations with clients that start out like this: “Well, I couldn’t make it to the gym at all this week but I spent my entire weekend skiing and my entire body is sore! Aren’t you proud of me?” No! I am not proud of you Mr. Smith. You could have spent your entire week mindfully preparing for your ski trip this weekend and maybe you wouldn’t be as beat up as you are now!
Or another example I come across a lot is: “I want to lose 20 pounds so I’m going to start by doing a 5k. I will burn so many calories doing that it will be great!” My response is usually the same. Why not lose the 20 pounds first!? I would never bash any sport in particular, I would only ask for you to take into consideration the cost vs. benefit of what you are about to do to your body. How about we get you healthier first so you can do the sport you love so much and have a better chance coming out of it unharmed?
My Love For Sport
This is a personal topic for me especially because for the past five years or so I’ve come to love the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It has totally changed my life for the positive, but at the same time it includes health risks. I understand the cost of years of competition and training and the toll it has taken on my body. Which is all the more reason to focus and be sure to train smart when in the gym. All of my efforts go towards attempting to prepare my body for the forces my sport will inflict on me. I am most recently recovering from knee surgery but because I take the time to strengthen my body, I can still participate in sport. You can imagine how much worse off I would be if I didn’t have a mindful approach to training inside the gym.
Taking Care of Yourself
Think of your sport as a skill! You want to give yourself the best opportunity to perform at your best. I’ve seen so many different approaches over the years being involved in the mixed martial arts community when it comes to training for various competitions. I’ve also seen many confused athletes who think they must do multiple sports at once to better prepare them for their main sport. For example I’ve seen many fighters who follow powerlifting guidelines when preparing for some sort of combat competition. Now by no means am I saying there is no value in this approach, but are you trying to win your competition? Or are you too concerned with how much weight you’re swinging around during your power clean and jerk?
All I would ask for any competitive athlete is to clarify your goal. You can still do your heavy weight training and your explosive box jumps if you insist. But be sure you first understand the forces you’re putting on your body, how often, or how long you’re performing this action, how you are progressing it, and how far will you stray from human design. At the end of the day we are all human!