I love sports, and track and field in particular. I've even dedicated 22 years of my life to it. And turning a hobby into a profession is something most athletes can only dream of. It all sounds incredibly exciting, and it is: travelling the world, meeting interesting people, and if you're lucky enough, bringing home medals.
People have tremendous respect for athletes, but what does it mean to be a professional one? Giving your all in training two or three times a day, in the hope of reaping the rewards when it all comes together. Performing at the highest level means trainig for that one moment when the stars align. Those few seconds when you have to reach your best form ever. An sudden illness or a few nights of irregular sleep? Too bad, you may get a second chance next year.
There are few certainties in life, and even less in professional sports. The love and respect from an entire nation when you win a medal is overwhelming, even addictive. The criticism and dissapointment when you fail is even harder. An athlete will rarely bare his soul, no matter how candid an interview feels. When we win, we're the last one to aknowledge our achievements, but when we lose, we're the first to put ourselves down. "Not good enough" is the only explanation needed.
An athlete lives an ascetic life and only gets noticed out on the field. One wrong move however and critics suddenly seem to know best why you've been underperforming. Critics who've most likely never seen you train once. Critics who never once see you train and slave away. The reality is that during 50 weeks of the year athletes barely relax. We are controlefreaks, machines, who hide the fact that we're extremely ambitious with smiles and child-like enthousiasm. But in the end sport is nothing but an ongoing battle with yourself. Rest means struggling between the thought of a nice meal and the knowledge you have to burn it off again afterwards. Training means trying to figure out why our times are slower than before or why we had to get injured again. It means conquering all those fears, to be able to compete and to reap the rewards without being afraid to fail.
We don't do 12 hour shifts in the health sector, we're not saving the world, but we help dream and inspire. Sports made people see me as a physically strong woman. But I now realize it has really turned me into a fearless person. It allows me to take on new challenges, like this amazing GRIT adventure.
So what does GRIT mean to me? Providing the right support system, with a personal approach, to help people excercise in a healthy and responsible way. Top class trainers, excellent medical support and a fantastic group of friends to excercise with are key to do so. It's what's worked for me for all those years, and I'd love to share it with the world. Training with GRIT might not get you a gold medal, but I'll show you you can do so much more than you ever imagined. Because in the end, top class sport is nothing but a continuus struggle... with yourself. And in that philosophy, we're all world class athletes.
Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to show some true GRIT.