I once thought that training
for an event like the Olympic games or other similar elite events was harder
than maintaining everyday health and fitness. I was wrong.
I trained over 100 miles a week for the Original Ultimate Runner Competition (10k, 400 meters, 100 meters, a mile and marathon all ran on the same day) for months. I trained as hard as a human being is capable of training for any sports event. The work ended up paying off when I won the title of the best all-around runner.
The key to winning the original Ultimate Runner Competition was the motivation I had at the time to become the very best all-around runner. Strong motivation and leverage is required to accomplish big goals.
After winning the Ultimate Runner event and retiring from competition, I told my friends that it was much easier for me to run 100 mile weeks, week in and week out than it was running 30 miles a week for general fitness. I no longer had a big compelling goal for my fitness. I was just going through the motions.
I struggled to run just for health and fitness for about three years. My weight went up nearly 50 pounds at one point. I was one of the best competitive runners around yet I could not find the motivation to stay fit on a daily basis after my retirement from competition.
One day I had a revelation. I stopped thinking about me and started thinking about how I could help and serve others with their fitness and health goals. It was the motivation and leverage I needed to get back on the health and fitness track. If I was going to coach and help others, I had better get my act together by setting a better example. The leverage I needed to get back on track was found in serving and helping others with their own unique health and fitness goals.
I am now convinced that a champion is also someone who stays the health and fitness course over the long run by working at it for their own unique reasons. Daily commitment to health and fitness year after year for a purpose greater than self is what champions are made of.
To me, a champion includes someone who takes the time to work out regularly so they can have more energy to play with their kids. I am just as inspired by the person who works hard at losing weight so they can have a better life with their family than I am with an Olympic champion. The mom who sets an example of fitness and health for her kids to follow so they can have a better life is an inspiration to me as well.
I’ve coached a lot of champions over the years who were the best in their event. However, two of the champions who come to mind never came close to winning a race. One woman I coached lost well over 100 pounds and has kept the weight off for over 30 years. Another young man lost over 50 pounds and his life has never been the same—in a life-giving way.
You don’t have to be an Olympic champion or the best at an event to find satisfaction in your daily workouts. Find a goal that is meaningful to you and you’ll discover the motivation to stay healthy and fit for life. I’ll see you at the finish line!