Fitness Lessons You Can Learn From Inspirational Women Athletes
“What I’ve come to realize is there’s collateral damage with pushing your limits. At a certain point, it’s not going to be smooth sailing and you’re going to break. You’re going to face challenges in the form of physical and mental setbacks,” Boone says. “Part of being an athlete and trying to find those new boundaries is to constantly better yourself and challenge yourself, and sometimes you’re going to get knocked down. That’s whether you’re a top athlete or someone trying to run your first 5k. We all go through it.”
4. Pursue What You — Not Others — Love
Just because everyone else is spinning and doing yoga doesn’t mean you have to spin and do yoga. Meghan Markle, actress on Suits, humanitarian, and founder of lifestyle site TheTig.com, made it a point to be different and “draw her own box” growing up. And you can too, both in life and when it comes to fitness.
“Whatever self-identification things we grapple with, insecurities … draw your own box and be exactly who you are,” Markle says. “Don’t feel like you need to conform to anything.”
If your version of happiness is swimming, do it. If it’s pogo-sticking, hop to it. Draw your own path.
5. Own Your Accomplishments
When you are successful, don’t be afraid to share it. Did you lose 10 pounds or finish running a mile for the first time? Own it. Don’t let anything hold you back from being proud of reaching your goals (no matter how small they might be).
“I was always taught to be humble, but, literally, I have a gold medal. And when someone asks if I’m good, I’m like ‘Yeah, I’m so-so.’ Then my guy friends aren’t even good, and they’re like ‘Yeah! I’m good!'” says Jessica Mendoza, Olympic gold medalist and the first-ever female MLB analyst to work a post-season game. “I’m not trying to say it’s the exact [gender] stereotype, but I still feel that today we’re hindered sometimes by the boxes society puts us in.”
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Challenge Yourself
Yes, trying something new can be scary — especially when you’re not sure whether you’re going to be able to do it or not. But once you do, you’ll accomplish more than you think.
“Every time I take a class I didn’t think I could do, it makes me a stronger leader, and it makes me overcome a challenge I’m going through at work or in my personal life,” Kadakia says. “Having challenges in your life open doors for you.”
Who knows — getting through that first mile could turn into winning an Ironman someday.
7. Ask for Help If You Need It
On those days you’re riding the struggle train, speak up: The people in your life will help you get through it. (And yes, it’s okay to bring up the not-so-fun things.)
“It’s easy to talk about your wins and the good stuff. It’s really hard to talk about when things aren’t,” Boone says. “I really wish more women would open up and speak about that. [But when you do], there’s outpouring support and people rally around you.”
Kadakia has the same outlook, saying she believes the people close to us are the “reason we make it or we break it.”
“At the end of the day, look around you — people will always be giving you thoughts and ideas, so make sure they’re pushing you toward where you want to go,” Kadakia says.