Before the start of each season, I’d have three main goals: get fit, stay fit and don’t get injured. As preseason picked up, so did the conditioning, along with two-a-days and the dreaded beep test (if you know, you know). If we weren’t training or traveling for game day, we were watching film, scouting teams, testing new formations or lifting with the strength coach. Even days off were filled with ice baths, shake-out runs and visits to the athletic trainers for rehab and recovery. Though the off-season offered some respite, the training never truly stopped. And in the years to come, that “all or nothing” mentality stuck to me like glue.
Post-college, I struggled to find balance in my fitness routine. If I wasn’t in the gym for multiple hours a week, logging miles on the treadmill and time at the weight rack, each workout felt like a failure. As my career and social life took over, my free time fell short, and the anxiety I felt in the gym soon morphed into the opposite extreme: complete indifference. If I can’t go all out, why bother? I’d go through varying periods of obsessiveness and disinterest, booking a new workout class every day until I’d eventually get burnt out and stop altogether.
This physical rollercoaster left me feeling fatigued and guilt-ridden. Though I still struggle at times, I’ve since learned that this all-or-nothing attitude isn’t healthy or realistic. Exercise is supposed to be fun, and a good workout routine consists of whatever brings you joy and stability. Now, I live for a 20-minute sweat sesh, and you bet I count walking the dog as cardio. I may not be as fit as I once was, but, honestly, who cares? Staying active has always helped me be the best version of myself, and in finding this balance, I was able to rediscover why I started playing sports to begin with.