finding-your-inner-athlete

Source: Shiva’s Flickr

For many of you who read Canadian Dreams Un-Broken! – An Immigrants Voice you would have got a glimpse of the challenges faced by me as a child and as a person on my pursuit of the Canadian Dream.

Every Child must be provided with an opportunity to chase their dreams, being a 80’s kid in India things were different, winning the sperm wars out of 25 million competitors was merely an orientation to the start of a very long competitive journey that will be guided by family/peers expectations and societal norms which will decide your fate. Even your career is decided by parents who think what is right for you.

At grade 7 I got my taste of sports as a replacement for our team’s contender who was injured from a relay race. I was asked to fill his spot for an upcoming event, with no formal training or prior experience in professional running. I set out to explore my capability as a runner in 100 m sprint event. With much fear and brewing uncertainty I chose to block all other sounds than to just focus on looking forward towards the finish line.Ready to dash at the sound of Ready. Set…Go (Shot Fired).

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My first race in life.

Source: Shiva’s Flickr

With all energy I ran, imagining a professional runner’s running stance. While I was running halfway through the corner of my eye I tried to look at my competitors in other lanes but to my shock I gave them a good 30 m lead. I ran with all the energy I had and ran towards finishing line marking my first ever 100 m dash in 19.36 seconds winning first medal.

Not a great time but it sure got attention of my coach Charan Singh Rathi (an international walker with record time of 1:25:48 for 20 km walk).  Under his wingmanship, support and training I found myself training with other trainee athletes for next 3 years from 3.30 AM till 6.30 AM every morning 365 days being trained on different race types and working on different aspects of becoming a professional athlete.

Having competed in various inter province sports championships I was getting better. Finally in summer of 2002 I beat the selection criteria for nationals under 18 category with my best time for 100 m sprints now at 11.13 seconds.

I was ecstatic to be competing in national championship for the first time, this was beginning of something big. But the sports training was taking major chunk of my study time bringing my grades down to 70% tier compared to my 80-85% category.

It was at this time my mom/life coach had to intervene helping me to do a rain check on reality, explaining how the future of sports in this millennium was bleak. Looking at the poor infrastructure for athletes back then I had a hard decision to make, to either pursue a professional athletic career or to study and finish my university and join workforce actively.

I chose the latter, carefully evaluating my priorities and refocused myself for better grades and putting myself through college.

Fast forward to the winter of 2014. Between 2003 and now, lot happened. Life Happened!!

I was going through testing times with my immigration woes and life in CANADA feeling drained out mentally and physically. I realized I was doing a lot for others and not doing much for myself.

I had been paying my gym memberships for over 2 years but never set foot into gym once maybe it was my busy lifestyle, commuting by bus or lack of motivation, I was succumbing into this endless marsh of self-pity. I had to do something, starting with taking control of my emotions to turn them around into strength.

12 years after leaving the world of athletics behind, at some point in my career I resorted to chain smoking to find some respite from my worries and busy lifestyle.

Although showing great determination and will power I had quit smoking for good (overnight)in 2010.I underestimated the long term damage it did to me and my body.

Long term effects showed in form of lower stamina. As I tried to get back into running,trying to search the lost athlete in me. I could barely run 100 m… I thought to myself that I had failed.

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My Weakness Becomes My Weapon And Pain My Pleasure

The walk back home was guilt ridden, I was ashamed to have done this to myself. My coping mechanism kicked in and screamed I need to get ME back, I needed to search the young athlete in me which I abandoned at some point in my life.

I knew he was alive!

Life experiences and my training as an athlete helped me create new and improved DNA of an Athlete.

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We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.

It takes drive.

You have to be driven to improve every day. You can’t be satisfied with your last performance.

It takes discipline.

You have to be disciplined. You have to follow a strict exercise and eating schedule.

It takes competitiveness.

You have to be competitive and want to beat your competitors, your biggest competitor is YOU.

It takes self-confidence.

You have to be confident in yourself and believe that you’re a winner.

It takes aggressiveness.

You have to make moves on your own, not just respond to what other athletes do.

It takes focus.

You have to be able to focus on the task at hand and tune out any other distractions.

It takes commitment.

You have to be committed to your sport. You have to give up other hobbies and interests.

It takes good time management.

You have to be able to manage your time well. You practice for hours and hours each day, on top of school, work, and spending time with friends and family.

It takes determination.

You have to be determined. You can’t give up, no matter how hard it seems. When you lose a competition or miss a goal, you have to get right back up and try again.

It takes a high tolerance for pain.

You have to be able to put up with a lot of pain, from pushing your body to its limits.Destroy your muscles to create newer muscles.

It takes adaptability.

You have to be able to adapt to different situations and new information quickly.

It takes emotional maturity.

You have to be in control of your emotions. You can’t let yourself get too nervous, to angry, too depressed, etc.

Focus on the right form.

Inclined more on the technical side of training you have to work on having a correct body posture and conditioning of muscles before you take any activity as a sport.

 

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Arnold’s Definition of Strength.

Now that I had figured out the DNA of the athlete I wanted to rekindle in me, it was time to put the mix into practice and shape it into form. As an athlete in my teen I had a lean body but over the years I had put on weight, it felt as if I had a mountain to move for a healthy physique and healthy mind.

I took moving the mountain part to my heart and started working with a trainer investing in 11 session training program, my focus was on flexibility and strength. While on a quest to find the lost athlete in me I witnessed my legs were the reservoir of force and strength. I had found my love in DEADLIFTS for the first time in so many years I was destroying my body in gym for greater gains and my body was thanking me for giving it the GIFT of HEALTH.

In mere 4 months from stepping into gym for the first time. I hit my first Personal Record (PR) in Deadlifts (Sumo Style) lifting 315 lbs.

With strict diet and disciplined schedule I choose BodySpace app by BodyBuilding.com to be my fitness monitoring app where I can constantly get notification on my planned workout and could now track my progress.

Source: Shiva’s Flickr

Road to achieve big is not easy and you need to be determined to fight your own demons (laziness, diet and lifestyle).

Set Bigger Goals> Write Steps on How You Will reach them and then The Mantra: Take One day at a time.

The Rule of GYM or any Workout is you destroy yourself in training and you become stronger outside gym i.e. proper sleep, diet and nutrition is the mix that will take you closer to your dream body.

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Dedication is the key to keep up with your schedule and workout plan.

Me attempting 365 Lbs. Sumo Deadlift breaking my previous PR.(My diet comprises of 4800 calories.)

After 24 months training, not only have I found the lost athlete but have stumbled upon the beast sleeping inside me who I unleash on my leg days.

My current Sumo Deadlift PR is 420 Lbs. It’s only the beginning of a long lasting relationship with this ATHLETE that I have rekindled in me, I want to keep pushing the limits to find the breaking point. I am training to start competing soon in local and inter-provincial lifting tournaments. I want to be an example for my kids, friends and family to show them It’s never too late to chase your dreams.

If you are in need of workout plan, motivation or need assistance with diet and nutrition feel free to get in touch with me and I would love to create one for you with you.

 

3 Comments

  1. For me, the pursuit of athletics is as much of a mental reset as it is for my physical body. Nothing makes me feel better than being in the moment, unfettered by worries or stress, and simply feeling my whole self working as one unit to reach one goal. My dedication to working out is one of my proudest achievements, and I do it JUST FOR ME.

    Go Shiva. You’ve taught me so much about setting goals and working step by step toward them.
    NN

    Like

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