In 1993 I was extremely overweight and out of shape. College had gotten to me and my freshman 20 turned into the senior 100 and I found myself at 230 lbs. I decided to take off the weight by changing my eating habits and exercising 6-7 days a week. Usually step aerobics, occasionally a water training session, and lots of walking. I was formerly a high school athlete (basketball, cheerleading, and swimming) and participated in intramural sports at the college level. My muscles were there, not bulging but toned. After I lost the 100lbs my muscles stayed tone and I didn’t shake to and fro when I walked. Recently I have become the active but “out of shape” mom and find myself 25lbs too heavy (again). I know the pregnancy 1 year ago has my body out of whack but, I was wondering if it’s easier for a former athlete like me to get back in shape the second time around.
There is no doubt in my mind that former athletes have an advantage when it comes to getting back in shape. There are 2 reasons why I believe this to be true.
First of all people that have played organized sports understand what it means to work hard to achieve a goal. They have already tested their will by taking their body close to its physical limitations.
I sometimes reminisce of my days as a high school football player practicing three times a day in 95 degree heat with full gear on. I’m starting to sweat just thinking about it. What could be harder than that?
The point I’m trying to make is most athletes have already experienced grueling workouts. All they have to do is refocus their goals and commit to changing their lifestyle. If they put the same amount of energy into trying to get in shape as they did on the sports field they will usually be successful.
Second of all athletes have what’s called muscle memory. This means that it’s much easier to get back in shape if you’ve already been there. It’s like riding a bike once you’ve done it you never forget how. Therefore athletes can usually return to their previous shape in a shorter period of time even after taking a couple of years off from working out.
So if you’re ready to get back in shape there is no better time than the present. Your experience as an athlete should give you all the tools you need. After all you’ve already done it once before. It should be a little easier the second time around.
Just remember when that mean old coach told you that running an extra sprint meant the difference between winning and losing, he may very well have been right!