Monday, 18 February 2013

Are you an Athlete?

In an effort to understand the world of athletics, I decided it would be helpful to start to interview ordinary people in my own town.

This past week I had the opportunity to meet with Jay, member of my local gym, husband to Peggy, commuter to a job he loves, dad to two little sweet girls and an athlete.

We talked about his motivation to enjoy good health, stay active and his love of competition. I told him I was very impressed with the jumps onto the 3 foot platform. It's called Plyometrics.

WebMD had a good article and definition:
Plyometrics. -- also known as jump training -- is a training technique designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness. Originally developed for Olympic athletes, plyometric training has become a popular workout routine for people of all ages, including children and adolescents.
Jay started this kind of training over 15 years ago while at Lakehead University. Through the week, he works out two times with Peggy, swims, plays hockey, runs, uses weights and attends a yogalates class.

Part of my journey, is to discover my definition of an athlete. Along the way I am asking people what they think. Jay said,
I think an athlete is someone who has a clear of vision of their self, has expectations of self and knows the steps to get there.
I liked it; it's an inclusive definition.

We both agreed that professional athletes are a different breed with their genuine striving and passion.

In fact, Clara Hughes, 6 time Olympic Medallist in summer and winter games, refers to herself as a "former athlete" in her blog. I suppose some workplaces, like Olympic Training Camps and elite training clubs, have a clear definition for the word athlete.

Jay and I talked about inspiration and discovered that his father's early death from multiple health problems, including smoking made Jay determined to live a healthier lifestyle. Both of his parents were very supportive of his efforts in decathlon, hockey and Junior Baseball for Canada.

Throughout our conversation, I sensed that Jay seems to be pretty intrinsically motivated to be engaged in fitness. For years, he has set aside time and money to be a member of a gym and play hockey.

Lastly, I was curious about setbacks or health problems that he may have had to rehabilitate and how he has handled them. He described some; after all he is in his mid 30's and our bodies age and deteriorate over time. Additionally, he survived a car accident on a 400 series highway. You can imagine, the impact on a back, on a neck, and on a shoulder that has played competitive baseball.

My moment, to further explore in another post, came when Jay said,
I know my limits and I have adapted...
I think there is really something important in that statement for me and perhaps for others who have pushed themselves in good ways and debilitating ways.

For sure, this man can bench press and leg press a ton of weight like the younger guys, but it seems he has discovered a healthy way to be an athlete, stay fit and functional in daily life and really be there for his family. Perhaps, this is something that we discover as we age?

Thanks Jay for the great conversation and adding to my learning in this year of living athletically.

Happy Family Day to my Canadian Friends. I hope everyone has enjoyed their mid-winter holiday.

Until next time,

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