The Progression of an Athlete
Some of you know that I used to be a hammer thrower in college. Surprisingly, hammer throwing is not very widely known. So, you’ll have to take my word on the fact that I was good at it. As a division one athlete, I was a bit of a prisoner to the athletic department. While other students were free to sign up for intramural sports, I was required to sit out. I had to ask permission to go on long bike rides over the weekend. I was not allowed to untrain or cross train my body. And I certainly wasn’t allowed to put it at risk for injury in any way.
My body belonged to the team. It did not belong to me.
Aerobic, Anaerobic, and Mixed Fiber Athletes
Depending on your sport and the actions required, most athletes fit into one of these three categories.
- Aerobic – endurance athletes, using oxygen well for long periods of time. They might pick a fight and then run away because they know they can go longer and stronger than the next athlete. To train, these athletes run for miles and miles at a time. They do not train as hard in the weight room and they are not allowed to gain weight.
- Anaerobic – sprint or bursts of energy type athletes. These athletes are powerful, but not likely to win in a mile long race. When training, these athletes are not allowed to run over 400 meters at one time. They ARE allowed to run 100 meters ten times. They are encouraged to put on muscle in the weight room and weight is less of an issue, depending on the sport.
- Mixed – athletes like basketball players and certain football players need to have a mixture. Some endurance for running and some power for playing and quick bursts of energy.
As an anaerobic athlete…
- I was barely allowed to ride my bike to and from school.
- I was not allowed to run over 400 meters at one time.
- I threw hammer and drilled for 2-3 hours every day.
- I was required to lift 5x per week for 60-90 minutes.
- On endurance training days, we did not jog, we sprinted.
When I retired after my senior year of college, I wanted to be free of rules when it came to exercise and my body. Since that time…
I stopped lifting to become more girly, and I tried dancing.
I went rock climbing in Colorado…
I tried running half marathons…
I surfed in Hawaii…
I competed and trained for a strong man competition…
Competing in Florida for my first Triathlon…
See, I’ve been doing everything since I finished as a thrower. You know why? BECAUSE I CAN.
The human body is highly adaptable. Most things we want it to endure, we can train it to get there. If exercise seems like something you’re doing as part of your daily torture routine, switch it up! Make it fun again.
Eventually, I know I’ll run out of things to try, but that’s okay. I had fun at each one of these different events. And, it wouldn’t be bad at all to go back and repeat any of them.
If you are a competitive spirit, I warn you of this…
Anytime you can “specialize,” you allow yourself to be more competitive. By switching around from one sport to the next, I am not allowing myself to be very competitive. But, I am past the point of wanting to “win” all the time. I am finally allowed to just have fun.
That’s what I intend to do.
Having fun in Missouri.