Confessions Of A Former Athlete
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Confessions Of A Former Athlete

Things they don't tell you when you stop competing.

Confessions Of A Former Athlete
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When you’re an athlete, there will never be a time where you won’t have a love for sports. For me, the sport that I fell head over heels with was running. Whether it was Cross Country, Indoor, or Track & Field, running was everything good in my life. Once I stopped participating in the sport I loved, my whole life changed. Here are a few key points I would love everyone to know once they stop being an athlete.

You’ll gain weight and it will suck.

When you’re an athlete, the focus of working out is to get better at your sport. It isn’t really about losing and gaining weight, but it seems to come with the territory. When you stop being an athlete, you start to notice weight gain. Without a regimen, it becomes harder to go to the gym or go for a run so you push it to the side. It starts out slowly, but soon enough, you’ve lost some muscle and gained some fat. It will inevitably suck, but that's life and it happens.

Your body physically hurts.

When I stopped running competitively, my body grew and changed. As an athlete, you are trained to use certain parts of your body more than others and when you stop, you can feel the difference. You’ll feel tight and probably need to stretch more. You’ll feel tiny aches and pain from past injuries. It’s a painful process transitioning from athlete to former athlete, but your body never stops stretching and giving it the nutrients it needs to make up for it.

You never stop missing the team mentality.

As an athlete, your team is what keeps you together. You spend most of your days and nights with these people. It’s hard to let go of that team mentality when you stop being an athlete. You are always looking for an excuse to be around people. Whether it’s going out to eat or even finding a workout buddy, you always want to push people to be better because that is what your teammates have instilled in you. It’s a blessing and a curse to be a part of a team because once you stop, you feel so alone.

It’s not easy to work out without being told what to do.

How one actually works out without a coach screaming in their face, I will never know. Going to the gym as a former athlete has its drawbacks as well as its positives. You can finally do whatever you want to do but on the other hand, how do you actually do them? Working out is not easy, especially when you don’t have someone looking out for your best interests. Some machines can seriously impact your body while you can injure yourself on the ones that aren’t so familiar. One of the hardest parts of being a former athlete is missing a coach; a person who will guide you on a journey to success as an athlete while also teaching you some life lessons along the way.

You will always miss the sport.

It doesn’t matter if at the end of the day it killed you to attend practice or that it was the reason you never had free time on the weekends. The sport you loved will always have a special place in your heart. Athletes find joy in what they do because it pushes them to be a better version of themselves. When you become a former athlete, you take those life lessons wherever you go but that doesn’t mean seeing a pair or running shoes or a soccer ball doesn’t bring tears to your eyes.

You miss competing the most.

Athletes are a special breed of people who love the thrill of competing. As a former athlete, you will find anything to bring you that same rush, whether it’s having a video game competition between friends or seeing who can get to a destination faster. Competition is in your blood and when you stop, you will find all methods to cure that insatiable appetite for doing that very thing. Watching sports on TV helps, but it will never be as good as living it out.

You’ll always consider yourself an athlete.

When you’ve become a former athlete, you straddle the line between telling someone you used to compete as opposed to doing it. Any athlete will tell you that, "Once an athlete, always an athlete." Whether you stopped five months ago or five years ago, your inner athlete will always lay dormant inside your body. It’s been over three years and I still call myself a runner and that will never change.

You will get sad seeing other people compete.

As happy as you will be for people who used to compete with you, there will be a part of you that will drive you insane with jealousy. With the “that could have been me” mentality, you pull yourself out of what the sport has done with you. On one hand, you’re jealous that people get to do the thing you wish you could have done and on the other, you will be cheering them from the sidelines because that’s what athletes do. We push each other and support one another.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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