Written by: Margaret Steffie, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Growing up, there were people, parents, family members, and those that I saw in the media that I idolized. And while they were from all areas of my life, people I know, actors, musicians, authors, other content creators, the ones that I began to idolize more as I grew up were athletes.
Being a competitive swimmer and then a competitive runner, I was always looking towards individuals in these fields for my inspiration. Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, Allyson Felix, and Des Linden. All of the individuals I idolized truly are human, just like you and me, but their characteristics, how they looked, their accomplishments, and their abilities caused me to put them on a pedestal. I wanted to be like them.
I wanted to be as fast as them. I wanted to be as physically fit as them. And I wanted to be an accomplished professional athlete like them. Yet, I felt it was impossible for me. I was overweight and not athletically talented.
Yet when I left for college, I realized that I had a little ability and no one looking over my shoulder to help me keep what was in my best interests in check.
I spent the following two years working like a pro to become one while still in school. This meant I trained twice a day, 6-7 days a week, didn’t drink, looked at how athletes were eating, and followed their lead. I saw some improvement in my performance, but I was also reaching a point that my body could no longer handle. I was overtraining, was divided from my peers due to a lack of social drinking, and my choice to restrict certain foods just because the pros were doing it led me closer to and farther from my dreams.
The weight loss made me look like them, but the overuse injuries and insufficient energy led me to an inability to perform.
What I did not realize is that being an athlete is the job of a professional athlete. They are not required to be a full-time student, work a part-time job, cook, clean, and do everything else the rest of us do while training. Their job is to train, eat, rest, train, eat, sleep and repeat.
As their job is to perform, they are to do only things that promote better performance. I was trying to mimic this while wearing many other hats. I learned that training like a pro is not the way to go. To see pro-like results when not being a professional athlete, you have to train smarter, not harder.
Everyone needs the same things to be healthy, fit, and reach a performance goal, if that is something you desire.
To consume a surplus of nutrient-dense foods.
A mindset that works towards perfection but accepts that there will be roadblocks from time to time
The willingness to make sacrifices for training, but also know when they need to rest
The understanding that every training session will not be perfect, nor should it be
The acceptance that goals can still be reached even when you cannot train exactly like a pro.
I invite you to train smarter, not harder too. If you are interested in learning how click here to grab my guide to Creating Better Health and Fitness the Smart Way or if you have more individualized advice, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margaret Steffie, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Margaret Steffie is a health and fitness coach who specializes in working with busy young individuals to help them reach all of their health and fitness goals. With Margaret’s holistic approach she works to get to the root of the problem which allows the individual to learn more deeply about themselves and make a lasting behavior change. Margaret is also the host of the podcast Margaret’s Healthy Hour and the author of F*ck the Freshman 15 (August 2021). When Margaret is not coaching she can be found training for running races, lifting weights in the gym, teaching group fitness classes, in person and on Recess), or spending time with her dogs.