Taking It in your stride - The Spirit Of Sportsmanship in your Fitness Journey !
A structured diet with quantified nutrition, a smart and exhaustive training routine, and a strong desire to change yourself! Most of the time, this recipe is enough to keep you going strong on your fitness journey. Well, most of the time! But there are times, when things will not seem so easy. Sometimes, you put in all your efforts keeping your diet and exercise on point, but the results still seem far from satisfactory. More so, when there are setbacks in the form of an unfortunate injury or an emotional trauma or any other adversity, which creates a temporary wall between you and your fitness goals… a wall that seems you’ll never be able to knock down. This is the moment in life when you probably feel like giving up. But when you get here, you’ll know that this is also the very moment, when the spirit of sportsmanship kicks in and keeps your flame alive. Here are a few mantras for those moments when the going gets tough, and when you need to channelize the right attitude to carry on – 1. “Give Up!” What does that even mean? Everyone has setbacks, everyone goes through hardships, everyone has their own challenges to overcome. Life is equally unfair to all (it is kind of fair in being unfair) but at the same time, know that giving up is never the option! Are you a cricket fan? No? Well, It doesn’t matter. Have you witnessed a match of any sport, where the game turned around at the last moment? I am sure you have. Recall that particular game. Now think of this: What if the last minute finishers, who actually went ahead to win the match, had given up at the first instant when the opponents were seemingly cruising for a victory? They would have lost even before the game was done! That, is the first lesson of sportsmanship that we learn – Winners Never Quit. Unfair or not, life will always give you your fair chance to comeback stronger than ever. You just have to have faith and wait for it. In the most difficult of situations, just breathe and stick around, putting your thoughts of giving up into the trash can…and one fine day, you will find your moment of comeback. 2. Come, let’s do it together ! Jitendra Chouksey, the visionary behind this wonderful community, once said, “If you have to go far, don’t walk alone. Walk together.” Brings also to mind the age old maxim – “United we stand, Divided we fall”. But what does that exactly mean in this context, when moving ahead is a struggle? The answer is simple. Teamwork is a winning formula for everyone. Here is an example. Are you a good chef? Help your roommate who is struggling to stick to the plan in his fitness journey. Learn different recipes and try them out together. Handhold him so that he can go on a bit longer in his journey without getting bored or demoralized. Are you an experienced lifter? Help that newbie in the gym who is struggling to work out with 2 kg dumbbells and many more kgs of negativity… perhaps your encouragement and help can make them feel a little less lonely or embarrassed. Help your wife, your husband, children, your mother-in-law, your daughter-in-law, or anyone else for that matter who wants to get fit. Because when family starts supporting you, you can win anything! So support those who need it, and make them winners. Form a team which helps each other pick themselves from every setback. Utilise each other’s strengths productively. And this is the second lesson of sportsmanship - Team Work. 3. An Opponent is not an Enemy Remember, it is not a race! It’s a journey. So why get competitive and compare yourselves with other people, only to end up harbouring negative emotions like jealousy, frustration and anger? Cheer and root for each other, celebrate each other’s successes. Encourage and appreciate others. Believe me, the moment you start giving out positivity and love, it comes back to you multiplied several times! This is a mantra that is sure to make the world itself a better place to live in. A player, whether in sports or in on a personal fitness journey, can often reach a juncture when he reduced to nothing. But he can work on himself and start right from scratch. Sometimes, inspiration comes in the form of an opponent who sets a standard to aspire to. In moments of personal doubt, a player can recall how the other team’s caliber had inspired him to match up to their level and improve himself and his own team. The point is, the competitive spirit should engender positivity and a healthy desire to become better ourselves while appreciating the strengths of our opponents. That is the third lesson that sportsmanship inculcates in us – Appreciate everyone who deserves it. 4. “Its Ok, I lost the match!” Does a setback in your life makes you feel like you’re a loser? If you’ve ever had such feelings, stop in your tracks right away! True grit is when you take losses in your stride just as easily as you exult over successes. Accept the loss. Voice it out loudly and several times till it gets easier to accept it. Only when you accept it, you will be able to move on. The more you cringe and beat yourself up about it, it only gets worse, not easier! A good way to train your mind is to learn to play a game - It can be any game, doesn’t matter if it is an outdoor sport or a board game. Playing a sport/game teaches you to accept defeat in the same way as a victory. This equanimity is very important, because it helps us stay grounded during our highs and uplifted during our lows. That’s the fourth lesson of sportsmanship – Accept your setbacks. 5. Discipline The most important of all is the last lesson – discipline. Just like you need to play all sports with respect to the rules and the spirit of the game (that is the discipline that sports teach us), similarly, you need to be disciplined in your efforts in your journey. Discipline helps you control your fantasies, impulses and desires. If as a player/sportsman, you have all the good qualities on the ground, you will naturally exhibits them in all other spheres of life. Even in the gym. Be disciplined in your efforts towards everything you do in life, and bring consistency to the table. This is the final but most important mantra that sports inculcates in us. Whether sports, or fitness, or dieting, or relationships, or the pursuit of a hobby or just our existential search for happiness in life – these golden mantras govern our success in all spheres. And success here doesn’t mean just winning that coveted medal or the title. It is the absolute victory of faith, persistence, and our best individual self over all negativity, chaos, and despair. So keep the learning and the spirit of sportsmanship alive within you at every stage in life, and you’ll always be a winner in life! Stay positive, stay happy guys!!