High School Athletes Find Life Lessons in Their Workouts
Since late 2009, two student athletes from Ypsilanti High School have been part of the Joust Strength + Fitness community. These athletes joined Joust in order to improve their sports performance, and their physical progress towards that goal has been impressive. They’ve gotten leaner, stronger and faster. Equally impressive, though, has been the personal transformation that’s taken place as a result of their training.
“My training has built muscle, but it also built confidence and self-discipline,” explained one of these young athletes, perfectly summing up how working out can help young women succeed on and off the playing field. “As I got stronger, the workouts became easier for me to get through, but they’ve never gotten any easier to do. It’s just whether you can push yourself through it or not.”
The type of truly challenging training that can deliver the results that these athletes were seeking takes a certain mental toughness. That mental toughness - the knowledge that you can push through even when everything in you tells you to quit - provides invaluable strength in getting through life’s challenges.
Experiencing a broader world of fitness also helped to change these young athletes’ perception of the role nutrition plays in wellness. Gone are the French fry lunches, fast food dinners and multiple sodas throughout the day. “Before starting at the gym, I never ate breakfast and had fast food all the time,” said one of the athletes. “Workout all you like, but if you eat like a pig, not only will it take a toll on your energy, but you’ll never get more fit. Working with an R.D. helped me to eat right, and I feel better than ever.” There’s no denying that sports-specific training helps athletes be more successful on the playing field, and that through sports, athletes learn self-discipline, teamwork and other valuable life skills. As these high school athletes who are working with us prove, experiencing a wider view of fitness can inspire new habits that lead to overall improved wellness - emotional, personal and physical.
It’s invaluable to learn sooner rather than later that the effort you put in to reaching a goal, whether it be your first pull-up or first month without french fries, is a good indicator the resulting outcome. Knowing that tackling a challenge through hard work always results in a win, both on the playing field and in life.
Melissa Gerharter MS, RD is co-owner of Joust Strength and Fitness of Ann Arbor, joustfitness.com. She is also a personal trainer and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. She can be reached at Melissa@joustfitness.com