In general throughout our lives we are taught to pursue something and be good at it. Think of the classic “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question, as if you can only be good at one thing. Specializing or practicing a sport exclusively certainly has a multitude of benefits, but as I have personally found it is not necessarily the only way to find success. Why not be better at life and good at many things.
People ask me all the time why I don’t just stick to one sport and the simplest answer is that I just love fitness and I want to be great at everything. To me fitness is about being prepared for whatever life may throw at me. How much cooler would your life be if you were athletically well rounded and able do anything at a high level. Have you ever wondered how far your body can go? And what its full potential might be?
I have not always been good at different sports at the same time, when I was a Triathlete all I did for many years was swim, bike and run. At the time I couldn’t do a single pull up, a push up or even squat an empty 20kg barbell. I decided that my fitness should not be defined by a single metric of how fast I could finish a Triathlon but should be measured through a much broader spectrum of tests.
If you can run a sub 3-hour marathon but can’t squat your body weight or do a pull up then how fit are you really?
If you think about the 10 recognized general physical skills of fitness, (cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy) how many would you say you are strong at?
Specialization is important to those that have very specific goals. I have gone through long periods of time focusing on a particular sport or event to ensure my success, but thinking very long term you don’t need to put all of your eggs into one basket in order to attain greatness. Being well rounded will actually make it easier to master a sport, this is because if you are a high level athlete then you generally have a good base fitness, you have the self-confidence, the motivation, self-discipline, focus, desire to succeed and the resilience to build something entirely new. In essence you just take one sport and mirror the effective attributes into another sport.
We all know that person, the one that is good at everything, does an Ironman on a whim, seemly succeeding at every challenge they try.
Losers love to make excuses for others successes and for their own shortcomings, it feels better to pass the blame and to pretend things are out of your control.
The most common excuses I hear are; “Oh it’s in your genes, you were born to be good at sports” “I am fat because of my genetics, so I will never be great at fitness” Well let me tell you, it has nothing to do with genetics. It is 100% in your power to be great at everything if you want it bad enough. In fact I find it offensive that someone would suggest my athletic achievements are because I was born that way. Totally discrediting the hard work I have put in 365 days a year for most of my life. I was born at 29 weeks; I had deflated lungs, a hole in my heart and was blind. Don’t tell me I was born to be a great athlete.
Studies have shown that the body you are born with matters much less than what you do with it. Your athletic potential is not written in your genes, it’s in your daily routine, your habits, the way you approach your life every minute of every day.
People that are good at everything are that way because they want it and because they decide to be good at it. It’s a raw indomitable will, a desire to be better, to sweat, to bleed, to achieve no weakness.
Everyone is capable of being good at many things but the vast majority of people in the world simply decide to give up before they achieve it.
I have learnt what it takes to succeed at the highest level and be great at many things and I apply the same formula to everything that I do. My methodology is simple: work hard, don’t give up, do whatever it takes and show no weakness.
Be great at many things, be better at life.
By; Jess Towl, Performance Coach