Us athletes are extraordinary creatures. We are insane. We are passionate. We are mentally & physically strong. Yet here we find ourselves vulnerable to the limitless horizons.
PERFECTIONISM IN ATHLETES
The wrath of perfectionism- remember my somewhat suspenseful (at least pretend it gave you goose bumps for my sake) blog post regarding such an ailment? Well, here I am today continuing my TO BE CONTINUED.
Okay, so perfectionism is associated with teen girls who want to be like these “ideal” women on magazine covers who have been photo-shopped & dehumanized beyond belief. Yes, ’tis a problem in our current society. However, this is NOT what I am addressing in this post. Perfectionism is more than a problem fourteen year old girls have, it’s a problem that your “RESILIENT, POWERFUL, AMBITIOUS” athletes are facing. & it’s being ignored. Or maybe it’s that we just have not recognized this plague for what it truly is.
The desire to be THE BEST is the difference between a mediocre athlete & a successful athlete. Regardless of one’s physical stamina & ability, the mental drive to leave it all on the field, court, etc. is what determines the overall outcome at the end of the day. The blood, the sweat, the tears, that’s what to look for…that exhausted, red-faced competitor stepping onto the field with shaking legs but carrying oneself with a firm pride, chin raised. We know that image well. We’ve perceived it in movies, in books, in our favorite professional athletes. & how can we tell the admirable, determined youth that enough is enough, especially when they are demonstrating the forte we have all dreamed of grasping? To see someone do the impossible.. how can we tell someone who appears so close to reaching their dream to turn it down a notch?
Exercising provides me a rush like no other- instant happiness. I spent years juggling soccer, track, cross country, dance, martial arts, etc. These were definitely some of the most rewarding moments of my life, even when my body ached & the Arizona sun fried me, there was always a smile on my face. By the time senior year came around, I knew it was my final lap in high school sports, thus I knew it was my last chance to give it everything I had. Eventually, I would not be able to turn to my teammates as we walked off the soccer field & yell “see you at practice next week!” It was rough to think about. I really avoided the topic of “after graduation” whenever I could. (Sports were something I wanted to view a positive& rewarding use of my time rather than a job, so I never pursued the idea of competing at a college-level).
To perform the best, I knew simply showing up to practice wasn’t going to cut it. ‘Tis the little things that add up. My diet, my technique, my equipment, my recovery, what I did after hours, were important components I knew were essential to consider. If I could perfect all of these outside factors, then surely I would see my hard work reflected in my performance, right?
Perfection strangled my brain & suffocated my sanity. It was a sign of my future downfall.
But it was disguised as the traits of a passionate athlete.
Initially, the enjoyment fueled my drive. & eventually, the praise kept me from seeing that my tank was at empty.
& it all began when I decided to become aware of my diet. If I ate the right amount of carbs, protein, fat, vegetables, fruits, dairy, liquids, oils, etc., then I would definitely perform better. Or at least better than I would if I mindlessly ate food. My goal was to help my body & in return, wouldn’t my body help me out a bit? Run a bit faster? Hold out a bit longer? Kick a bit further? That’s what the professionals do, right? That’s what they are always promoting on their Instagrams, yuh know? Every move, every bite, every hour are decisions being made ALWAYS regarding their future performance. Life becomes a strategy game, so one must trade the spontaneous shenanigans for a planner.
But there is no right way. There’s no perfect diet. Previously, I’ve mentioned how every single diet claims to be “the one” yet they all have contradicting ideas. So someone is not being completely honest here. It’s about the money. What diet is going to be upfront & admit “this lifestyle change will only be a temporary fix, but your mind is going to convince you that you’ve never experienced such a high& must donate your soul if you ever want to feel this great again”.
Needless to say, my first mistake was trust.
Never trust the only business in the world with a 98% failure rate.
This seems quite obvious, right? But how many of you have cut dairy out? How many of you shop in the gluten-free section because gluten is “bad”? How many of you refuse to eat white bread…or bread in general? How many of you count calories? How many of you have dropped the oils & the dressings? How many of you ignore your hunger cues because you heard that your body should be fed every three hours?
& who told you to do this? You weren’t born with this knowledge or inclination. You learned it from somewhere, someone, hmmm. Interesting.
Not to point fingers or anything, but the dieting industry is over there awkwardly standing in the corner avoiding direct eye contact.
Perfecting my diet was the first step to make me a perfect athlete.
Take a guess on how that turned out?