Our bodies and fitness level can be an incredible physical manifestation of our performance in life. Every day we are faced with stressors that wane on our ability to be the best versions of ourselves. Stressors that can spur low work performance, dissatisfaction with life, no motivation; by the end of the day stress has sucked you dry and all energy is drained. A person starts to wonder where is the time to be fit and awesome, when they’re just trying to make sure the wheels of life are on track!
When I sat down with Kim Schwabenbauer, a powerhouse triathlete and Registered Dietitian, at Idea World 2015, I didn’t think I was going to find the answers to enduring life. But I surprisingly discovered countless connections. Energy is energy, and whether it’s used to power a six hour run or complete a challenging project at an office job, our bodies are fueled to find energy in the same way. Approach life with the endurance mindset of a professional athlete and you’ll have the energy to be more awesome in all areas of your life. Here are three tips from Kim Schwabenbauer on how to increase your endurance for life.
1) IT STARTS WITH A PLAN
Say it with me, “failure to plan is planning to fail.” If you stop reading now, just remember that. Every aspect of life and achieving goals is tied to a plan. As I watched Kim in her session “Nutrition and Training Strategies for Endurance Athletes,” she went over how fitness professionals can develop a realistic plan for their clients success. She discussed weekly plans and schedules, setting a long-term goal and benchmarks. Although she was talking about how to train athletes, this is a universal tool everyone can apply for a more productive life. Goals motivate us and provide a sense of accomplishment when achieved. Benchmarks are there to serve as a reminder we are making progress. With a plan you set yourself up for success. In the words of Kim you’ll start saying, “I’m planning it. I’m nailing it. I’m doing it.”
2) FIGHT FATIGUE
An athlete’s body needs to perform and be in top notch shape, especially when it’s their job. They are conscious of eating nutrient dense foods that are high in antioxidants and balancing omega 6 fatty acids with omega 3’s. These are all nuances of a diet that most people don’t pay attention to, and these small details can make a big difference when it comes to fatigue. Kim says the goal for sustained energy is to keep blood sugar as even as possible with even spaced meals and snacks throughout the day. The answer to steady blood sugar is planning. By meal and snack planning you can make sure the fatigue fighting combo of protein and fiber is present whenever you eat. Kim says to spend 20 minutes writing out a grocery list and 45 minutes – 1 hour cooking, focused on what will be the “center of the plate.” She pointed out how side dishes are easier to come by with microwaveable vegetables and instant brown rice; but the stressful part is determining what is in the center of your plate. Spend your Sunday prepping your proteins to reheat during the week will help you have your fatigue fighting fuel on hand. Watch your mental performance change as you fight fatigue by eating real food.
3) DO YOUR BEST AND NO REGRETS
The last component to building up your endurance to combat the stressful aspects of life is to do your best. No one, even athletes, is immune to the energy draining activity of negative self-talk and the self-doubt that is stirred up during hard and difficult situations. Kim shared that during a nine hour race, two hours of the race will be spent thinking “This is hard. It hurts. I don’t want to do this. I don’t know why I chose to do this – What if this doesn’t come out the way I want.” It is when she is focused on the outcome of her race that she becomes negative, instead of staying in the moment and process of becoming the best version of herself.
Kim’s self-doubt talk can be applied to any difficult situation in which one is trying to improve in their life, whether it is getting a promotion at work or eating healthier on a regular basis. You will need to overcome difficult hurdles in your path, and negative self-talk is just one of those hurdles. I have personally shared my own bouts with it. But at the end of the day if you did your best, and gave it all you could, there is nothing to be negative about. As Kim shared, “I want to ask myself did I do my very best effort and I want to be able to say yes, because I don’t want any regrets about my career or my life. – Stay with it. Don’t let up. Do what it takes. Then you don’t have to question yourself and wonder if you did enough.”
Fitness for me is also being mentally fit and being able to push yourself and stay positive amidst the draining negative aspects of life. We all have our own personal best, and have our own day to day challenges to face. But to be Fit & Awesome, we have to work on our own personal endurance for life and enjoy the journey each individual path will take us. I’m so thankful to have been able to meet Kim and her genuine honest approach to fitness and her life.
What about you? How do endurance sports train you for life? Post in the comments and let us know.