Tonight, my spin instructor said something that caught me off guard and resonated with me pretty strongly.
“If you can complete a 60 minute spin class, you are an endurance athlete.”
I don’t think I’ve really every considered myself an “athlete”. The only time I did was when I was competing seriously in horse shows. I was training everyday at the barn and going to the gym to get stronger. I was waking up at 4am on competition day, and was ready and on my horse at 6am to start. I also considered my horse just as much of an athlete (which he was), feeding him supplements to help with his bones and muscles and giving him the best care possible. To me, athletes are the elite: Olympians, National Champions in their given sport, NBA players, NFL players, professionals.
I’m not a marathon runner, I haven’t even run a half (but I am training for one). I don’t consider myself an athlete, but I need to change that view. Our bodies are incredible and can do incredible things. We all work hard, eat right, and do things that challenge our bodies as much as we can. Pushing ourselves to our own personal max makes us athletes. We strive to get better – whether that means increasing our speed to qualify for Boston, or building up milage to be able to run a 5k – we challenge our bodies in different ways to do these things. These things are what makes us an athlete. Exercise is powerful, my body is powerful, and athletes are powerful. I think sometimes that we start to compare ourselves to others who do “bigger” things than us in the athletic department. This is not important. What is important is the things that we can do. I can’t do a pull-up, and I can’t run a marathon, but I can spin like a machine for 60 minutes and I can run a 5k in my sleep. I am improving. I am an athlete. And you are too.