Competitiveness never goes away. I’ve been a professional athlete for 8 years and I’ve always said that if I blew out my knee or couldn’t play beach volleyball anymore, I’d play competitive shuffleboard. Maybe I have some physical gifts that others don’t or never developed which allowed me to rise to the top in my sport, but one thing I have learned in my off-court pursuits is that anyone can have a competitive spirit. Why lead with that?
Well, truth be told, my volleyball career is winding down to a voluntary end and here in one of my last seasons, it’s obvious that while I may have exploited some physical gifts, my mentality is what kept me in the game. Never being satisfied with less than my best was the key. Why do we settle for less than our best when it comes to what we eat, and how much we exercise? I kinda get it, but I also don’t. I’ve never met anyone who says “I don’t want to be healthy” or “I love getting sick” or “I sure hope I get cancer someday!” However, working a job, sitting in traffic, having kids, etc is stressful, draining and time consuming. I’ve got a 2 ½ year old son and another kid on the way and yes, I'm tired.
Eat to Nourish
Do I work out 5 days a week and play volleyball 4 days a week anymore? No. Not with that frequency. But I do get in the gym or on the sand a couple times a week. I choose not to take the easy way out with take-out food, or the fast food lines. It’s actually better to not eat than eat something unhealthy. That’s actually been one of my keys to staying healthy and in shape while my time to invest has decreased. I don’t eat as much anymore.
That may sound like the hardest challenge in the world to some of you, but I can assure you that with a proper plan and the mindset of never accepting less than your best, it’s pretty simple to implement. No time to make every meal? Don’t spend $5-$10 on food you know isn’t good for you! Start drinking your meals. Hunger is dictated by hormones, and conversely, also controlled by hormones. The hunger signal is very similar to the dehydration signal, so try and drink more water and you’ll find you’re hungry less.
Many times in the morning or midday I don’t feel like I have the time to make a healthy meal, so I go liquid: almond milk, some rice protein, super greens powder and fish oil capsules. Literally everything your body needs to function properly, and actually, much more beneficial nutrition than an average meal. Not only is this good for your overall health, but your waistline too! Not saying you need to turn your life habits upside down and cook all new food, but just make a different choice, and then make a different choice next time, and the time after. I’m telling you, I see so many retired athletes who get overweight and unhealthy.Make a decision to be your best self first and the actions to follow through are a lot easier!
Dead honest, in a shaker cup I put in unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of VIbrant Health Green Vibrance, a scoop of vanilla Growing Naturals rice protein, shake it up and pop a couple fish (or veggie) oil pills with it. The balance of carbs, fat and protein will actually keep your hormones in check and keep you from being hungry. There are probably more quality nutrients in that shake than the average American gets in 2-3 days of normal diet. That’ll get your beach body ready in no time! Or it will get you ready for the slopes this winter.
Point is, that no matter the time of year, challenge yourself to be better than yesterday. If you get competitive with yourself, there are no losers. You always win! Have a sweet tooth like me? Turn those cravings into opportunities to put good stuff in your body. Here's my recipe for banana bread that is amazingly delicious and only uses good-for-you ingredients. Remember, your health is your wealth.
By: Russ Marchewka, vegan, Pro Beach Volleyball Player World Health Hub on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/worldhealthhub/