What does it mean to “think like an athlete”?
For me, thinking like an athlete is about being focused on your goals. As well as being a former professional sprinter, I’m from a family of athletes, and I married an athlete, so I know a little something about what makes athletes tick.
Athletes think differently. By focusing on the end result, I think athletes are better able to prioritize and we really can apply that focus in every part of our lives.
Whether we’re preparing for a training session, thinking about food and how to refuel our bodies, or planning a fun and relaxing outing, we’re thinking about what we want to achieve.
I think this approach can be helpful for everyone, in all walks of life. Try thinking about what you want to achieve and you may be able to think past all the other chatter that your brain is always throwing at you.
For instance, when you’re heading to the gym are you already thinking about what you’ll be doing later? Is the gym something you want to get over and done with? Perhaps you’re even one of the many who dread going to the gym and try any number of avoidance tactics?
I understand. Believe me, there are days when I’ve wanted to skip the gym, curl up on the sofa and eat cookies. Nowadays, when that happens I make a promise to myself if I still want to do that after I’ve worked out then I’ll let myself. The thing is, in the back of my brain, I know that I won’t want to.
By deciding to think like an athlete, I can make a work out more fun and less of a drain. Rather than counting the minutes until I can stop, I think about how my body is improving with each thing I do. I think about the positives: how I look, how I feel and how much happier I am when I’m active.
It’s the same with meal times. As an athlete I think about my long-term goals rather than focusing on short-term treats. While I believe in rewards and know we can’t all be virtuous all the time, I also know that if I want to feel good then I need to eat healthy, balanced meals.
This way of thinking has worked for me at every stage of my life and I’ve never looked back. I continue to think like an athlete even though my competitive days are behind me. I feel that having a plan and a definite direction keeps me positively moving toward self-improvement.
Try thinking like an athlete in every part of your life for just one week and see what a difference it can make.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.