I’ve been thinking a lot about who the Consummate Athlete is lately. As a brand and as an avatar—or as you, the athlete reading this—when I think of the Consummate Athlete, I think of a person with a busy work/life situation, who still wants to hit their big athletic goals, and who needs help training efficiently to do so. That’s why instead of talking about taking yoga classes 3x week, we like doing 10 minutes in the morning. It’s why we talk about how to modify your workout, it’s why we talk about organizing your gear to save time prepping for workouts. And it’s why I’ve been thinking about what the first thing that tends to fall off when we get overwhelmed is, and how to avoid that happening.
Last week when we were talking about how to modify your workout when life happens, I made the joke/honest commentary that whichever option you gravitate towards most often is probably NOT the one you should be picking. For instance, if you’re usually the person who skips a workout altogether the minute your schedule goes sideways, you could probably benefit from shortening it or just doing *something* instead. On the flip side, if you’re someone who always substitutes, swaps or shifts a workout to ensure that even if it’s the wrong day, those miles still get done, you might be the person who could benefit from skipping a workout on occasion in favor of rest/lowering your overall life stress.
As I was working through a backlog of work, plus some longer term projects, plus some events … well, you know, life, I realized that I’m definitely the person who will make time for something—that’s why I have my morning core/yoga routine, because worst case scenario, that at least gets done—but there are certainly other things that I let fall to the wayside the minute the going gets tough. Now, my ‘what I let go’ is pretty minimal and not at all critical, especially since we don’t have kids, we work from home, and generally, we have a base of overall health and training that allow for a bit more flexibility. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always going smoothly.
What’s the first thing to go?
For some reason, this question popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. On one hand, I felt like I had been getting it all done, and things had been trucking along smoothly. Except… A little niggle in my left shoulder was making itself known, and I was noticing a slight hitch in my left hip during my last long run. My patience was wearing thin, and my ability to focus on a conversation with Peter was lagging as I kept refreshing the Instagram for the team that I manage after one of our riders won over the weekend. (Read about that here and listen to our podcast with Alexey here!) My big plans for making moves on getting some authorial work were 50-50. A manuscript went to my agent, the stuff that I needed to work on solo got bumped.
For me, the first thing to go is two-fold: My sense of peace and calm, and my accountability with myself.
I never thought of myself as someone who required external accountability, but the signs are all there: I meet work deadlines but miss my writing ones. I update this website and podcast because it’s Peter’s as well as mine, but Shred Girls gets pushed back a day or three. I turn in drafts to agents, but putz on still-in-early-stage novel ideas. I record workouts for my coach, but don’t take the time to run my compression boots if the day gets busy. This is all small stuff, but it’s a pattern nonetheless. I think over the years, I’ve managed to miss it simply because I’ve had the overall work capacity to follow through on enough personal projects (or have other people like agents and editors and my husband join in part-way through and force me to finish stuff). Now that my work capacity is starting to max out, it’s getting harder and harder to prioritize my own stuff—in life, work and training—over or alongside of outside deadlines.
While this hasn’t been a huge issue yet, it felt like it was worth checking in on, and maybe doing a bit of inner-realigning. Making my own projects front and center during my most energetic hours of the day seemed like a good starting point for this week. After all, I’ll never miss a deadline due to a midafternoon creativity slump, but I will skip out on a writing session.
For a lot of us—and the reason I wrote this article!—the first thing to go is the day’s workout. It’s the easiest thing to cross off the to-do list to claw back an hour or two. But it’s also one of the most ‘expensive’ things to cross off in the long term, whether you have a serious athletic goal or you simply want to be healthy and active.
So, consider this your reminder that shortening a workout or just doing something to get your body moving is better than doing nothing—especially when skipping a workout due to busyness becomes a regular occurrence. This is your chance to boost your personal accountability, to recognize that it might not be perfect, but—as our tenets of being a consummate athlete remind us—80 percent is a passing grade, and 90 percent of life is showing up…. even if just for 5 minutes!
And lastly, if accountability is your issue like it’s mine, another option here is to ADD that outer accountability. And we can help there! Book a coaching call, get a training plan, or actually consider more long-term coaching.
Before you go, check out our book, Becoming A Consummate Athlete, right here: