Being an athlete is a lifestyle that consumes every aspect of your life 1. Whether you’re a professional athlete, recreational athlete or participate in a sport while you’re in school, you’ll have to make all kinds of sacrifices in order to succeed. It’s important to surround yourself with a strong support system -- people who understand your desire to be the best and will support you through thick and thin.
Being an athlete is an around-the-clock commitment. You’ll have to give up a big chunk of the free time you spend with friends, family or just by yourself lounging on the couch. When you’re not at the gym or out on the field, you’ll be studying videos of your past performances, opening your eyes as to how you can improve in the future. You might even watch film footage of your competitors so you can learn their strengths and weaknesses to give you a competitive edge.
When you’re in training, you’ll have to follow a rigid diet plan set forth by your physician, trainer or dietitian. You have to consume a precise amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat, meaning you might have to give up on the freedom of selecting your favorite foods and refuse to give in to your cravings. Not only will you have to eat certain foods, but also you’ll have to eat them at specific times, often every few hours while you’re awake.
Long gone are those days when you can press snooze on your alarm clock over and over when you’re in training. Being an athlete is a full-time job so you have to start early and work late in some cases. But when you’re in training, you don’t get to take weekends and holidays off. You still have to continue to stick to a rigid sleeping schedule and get up early enough each day to meet with your trainer or team.
Taking Time Off
If you’ve ever had a sore ankle, back or wrist, you might have taken a day or two off of work to let it rest. You don’t always get that luxury of taking time off, or even taking a break, when you’re an athlete. You’ll have to learn to work through the pain, especially if you have a group of teammates who rely on you to get the win.
When you’re still in school, you’ll most likely miss out on a lot of the educational experience package. You might not spend as much time on campus as a traditional student and have to hire a tutor to help you stay up to speed on your studies. You’ll miss out on after school activities, class time and social events that other students get to do. Depending on your travel schedule, you may have to give up a traditional graduation ceremony as well.
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