Ever since I started running more than 25 years ago, I’ve been a dedicated fitness enthusiast, a choice that has added energy, health, and adventure to my life. Along with running, I have enjoyed biking (both mountain and road biking), cross-country skiing, triathalons, and more recently, Crossfit.
And although I’ve enjoyed some more than others, there is one step–one “best practice”–that, in every pursuit, propelled my success, personal growth, and enjoyment.
I signed up for competitions.
As a runner, I entered 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons. When I turned 30, I completed the New York City Marathon, which was the fulfillment of a lifelong goal. When I discovered mountain biking, I did the Ice Man, one of the most physically demanding endurance events I ever completed. Similarly, when I took up “skate skiing” in my early 40’s, I entered the North American Vasa. And three years ago, when a frustrating battle with achilles tendonitis sidelined me from running, I jumped into Crossfit, a high intensity combination of Olympic Weightlifting, gymnastics, and boot camp-style training. Each of those years, I signed up to compete in the Crossfit Open, an international competition with more than 300,000 athletes.
Regardless of how I finished, I’ve never regretted these experiences. Stepping into the competitive arena, regardless of your skill level, always makes you better.
And this year, despite turning 56 three weeks ago, I’m planning to compete in the first-ever Fit My Life (FML) Winter Games here in Traverse City during the first weekend in February. If you’ve made a commitment to improving your fitness in 2017, then chances are this 2-day competition will also appeal to you! Here are five reasons to participate:
1. Develop your confidence. In an earlier post, I reflected on some great advice I received from a mentor, that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. We don’t grow when we’re comfortable; it is when we push past our self-imposed limits and surprise ourselves that we really progress in life. (You may also want to check out my earlier post on developing a growth mindset).
2. Jumpstart your progress. No matter where you are in terms of your fitness goals, the fact is, signing up for a competition is like having one of those “fast-passes” at Disney World. You will be amazed at how much further and faster you progress as an athlete.
3. Make new friendships with like-minded people. One of the best attributes of Fit My Life (FML) is the sense of community. There are seasoned fitness athletes working out alongside beginners in an encouraging and supportive atmosphere. This kind of encouraging, ‘we’re all in this together’ style of competition really brings out the best in people.
4. There are Beginner and Advanced Categories available. Whether you’re a seasoned fitness fanatic or a total beginner, you’ll be able to compete in a category with people of similar ability and experience.
5. This is more than a competition. Saturday’s festivities will include food, craft beer, and great live music. Celebrate your accomplishment with friends and fellow competitors.
BONUS: Support a local charity! All proceeds from the FML Winter Games event will support Veteran to Veteran, a mentoring program for area Vets.
To be clear, this competition will not be easy–you will be challenged both physically and mentally. But you’ve probably experienced something similar at some point in your life. Maybe it was learning a new skill, dealing with an illness or personal setback, or taking on a challenge you’d never done before. They are difficult when they are happening, but, looking back, we have to admit:
This is where the growth happens.
This is where your self confidence soars.
This is where real fulfillment resides.
If you’re looking to make 2017 your best year ever, discover the rewards of taking a trip outside your comfort zone by signing up for the FML Winter Games.
To register online or simply find out more about the event, visit www.FitMyLifeTraverseCity.com.
Question: What’s the greatest physical or athletic challenge you have encountered? How did you prepare for it, and how did you feel afterwards?