Lessons From a Wrestling Tournament: How They Apply to Your Health & Fitness

I spent this past weekend at my son's wrestling tournaments. They are looongg days of waiting and waiting for a few minutes of match time. So, suffice it to say, I had tons of time to watch the other matches and to do one of my favorite things, people watch. As I watched the interactions between opponents and the interactions between the coaches and the athletes, I realized there are lessons here that we can apply to our health and fitness goals. 

1. Commit to Giving 100%

In wrestling, if you half-ass it, you are sure to get taken down and pinned. To be successful, wrestlers need to give each fight 100% effort.

The same holds true for being successful in fat loss, strength, and overall health. So many times we half-ass our efforts. Maybe it's because of fear and uncertainty that we don't give it our all. When we don't see the results we were expecting, we give up and go back to the bad habits we've long held onto. We throw up our hands in defeat and get pinned by our old habits because we didn't give it our all. If we want to be successful, we need to face that fear and uncertainty, and commit to give 100% to our goals.

2. Expect a Learning Curve if You're a Rookie

This is my son's first year of wrestling. He's 14. Most of the kids he's wrestling against have been wrestling since they were in elementary school. Not only does he have to learn the moves, he has to learn how to be aggressive and how to react to what the other wrestler does. Hell, he even has to learn how to deal with another kid's butt, crotch, and armpit in his face! Fun, right?! It all feels weird and awkward for him.

If you are fairly new to training, you probably feel out of place at the gym and feel awkward trying to learn the exercises. (You don't have another person's butt, crotch, or armpit in your face, so a win right there! Lol). If you are just starting out trying to eat better, changing up recipes and finding the best snacks can be a challenge. Don't give up because you feel out of place, awkward, or challenged too much. Stick with it! There is always a learning curve, just like my son is finding this wrestling season. The only way to get better is to practice and continue to learn with each challenge. 

3. Don't Give Up

I saw several boys who were less experienced than their opponents stop fighting to get a reversal or get out of the hold. They just gave up and accepted getting pinned. These boys may have been unsure of what to do next. Maybe they didn't feel as strong as their opponent, or that fighting was futile. Whatever the reason, the outcome of the match was definitely decided the moment these boys quit.

Too often we just give up and wait to be pinned in our journey to health and fitness. Sometimes it's a fear of what to do. Sometimes we may feel as though anything we try never really works. Giving up is the easy way out. We can just throw our hands up and say "See! It didn't work."

That's really not the truth, though, is it? Did we just fall back on old habits that were comfortable? Did we not ask for help? Did we not commit to giving it our all?

One of the best things you can do is reassess what wasn't working. Was your plan too strict? If so, loosen it a bit. Was it a time issue? Look at your schedule to see where you waste time. We all do, whether it's playing a game on our phones, checking Facebook, email, or texts many times each day. Rearrange things in your schedule so that you CAN do what you need to do to continue creating healthy habits.

Remember, tomorrow is another day. Don't give up because you had a backslide or because it's hard. We all have backslides and challenges. It's called The Life of a Human Being. Keep working and you will find success.

4. Listen to the Coaches

During a wrestling match, the coaches are yelling moves out to the boys trying to guide them. Once the match is over, the coach will usually take the boy aside to tell him what he did well and what he can improve upon. 

We all need coaches, whether it be a nutritionist or a personal trainer. We need someone to help cheer us on, to guide us when we are stuck, and teach us when we don't know.  

If you don't have a coach, get one. I hired my first trainer after my son was born. I didn't get one before because I thought I knew what I was doing. My trainer really helped me get unstuck in my training. I actually saw better results from working with her than I did all of the years I trained before! Yeah. I knew what I was doing. Ha!

But here is the key with a coach: not only do you need to LISTEN to them, you also need to COMMUNICATE to them. I tell all of my clients that they need to let me know if something isn't working, doesn't feel right, if something hurts, etc. I can't make changes if I don't know what is wrong. A coach can alter plans when things aren't going right, but only if you communicate what you are feeling with the coach.

5. Good Sportsmanship

I was going to stop at #4, but realized that this last point is uber important!! 

These boys, all from different towns and teams, congratulated each other, patted each other on the back, shook each other's hands. My son was beat in his first match of the day. He lost on points, meaning he fought hard and didn't lose by getting pinned. As we were walking from the gym, a few boys from the team of his opponent patted my son on the back and told him "Good job out there!" It was genuine. 

I also saw more experienced boys helping the less experienced boys, giving them advice and teaching them how to improve on their technique.

I think we, as women, can take a page from these boys and cheer each other on, help each other succeed. We all too often fat shame, skinny shame, muscle shame, and whatever other shaming there can be. Maybe we don't feel good enough, so we shame others to hopefully make us feel better. The only thing is it doesn't really work that way. It only creates more toxicity and less success in our own lives.

Helping and cheering on other women can fuel our own successes. When we help others succeed, we feel great about ourselves and we succeed.

If you follow these 5 points, you will be on your way to a better, stronger, healthier you. 


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Nancy SherComment