As we reach the final few weeks of ‘improvement season’ I have found myself asking that question repeatedly, “What makes a champion?” Is it something that can be universally defined, or is it better interpreted individual to individual? According to my Google search, a champion is described as follows:
Cham-pi-on (noun) 1. a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition, especially in sports. 2. a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else.
So a champion is exemplified by the battles you win and the trophies you collect? Well I beg to differ. Where does integrity come in to play, or perseverance, or a positive attitude; or simply the ability to admit to mistakes and begin again? Do these qualities not also thoroughly characterize a champion as well? I’m pretty sure my 5th place trophy still makes me a champion; though I wasn’t able to surpass all rivals in my competition, I still managed to exceed my personal expectations and self-doubt. Boom! Champion.
Though I’ve known Brittany for quite some time it wasn’t until recently that our friendship really started to blossom, and it couldn’t have happened at a more appropriate juncture. You see, Brittany has lost 90lbs in the past year – 90lbs! And you ask her how? “Eating right and exercising – you know, the hard way.” So when she came to me last month talking about her lack of motivation it really got my own wheels turning – where had my motivation gone? It had been 3 weeks since I had seen the inside of a gym, 3 weeks since I tracked a macro, 3 weeks since I really cared about my physical and mental well-being, and Lord knows how long since I actually attempted to motivate someone else! How could I offer her any support if I couldn’t even lift myself up? I couldn’t. So I tore all the walls down and was as brutally honest with her as a could be; that’s when Brittany became my champion. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” she told me, “but I love that you’re human too.”
I am human. You are human. We’re all humans! (Surprised?) We all make mistakes, we all have set-backs, but that doesn’t make you or me any less of a champion. So your walls aren’t lined with trophies and awards and you don’t get 500 likes on your Instagram post – if you get out of bed each morning with the determination to make your day (and hopefully someone else’s along the way) a little brighter, then haven’t you won even a tiny victory? You don’t have to live, breathe and bleed fitness to be a model athlete – you can have your pizza and eat it too…in moderation. Living is just as important to one’s physical and mental well-being as lifting weights.
So Brittany made a goal for 2015 – instead of focusing on how far she has left to go, she has decided to focus her efforts on running 365mi this year and to give herself more credit for the progress she has made and continues to make. I’d like to commend her for that, but not only that, she’s also encouraged me to make more attainable and rewarding goals for myself this season.
Last season I spent a vast majority of prep feeling inadequate and down about my personal progress because I was so busy comparing myself to other athletes. Now that I know I can complete the physical requirements of the sport I’d like to give my mind the grace it deserves (Coach B is snickering at this point), but not just through bodybuilding, in all aspects of my life as well. This season I resolve to bring the best package I can, while still remaining true to myself and genuinely appreciating the process. Whether I leave the 2015 NPC stage with trophies or not, I’ll still leave it a champion because I’ve run the race as hard as I possibly could without cheating anyone else, myself included.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1