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Workplace Wellness

Workplace Wellness

What is an Everyday Athlete?

The following is an extract from the Lead By Example book; a playbook that contains all the pieces that will lead you to become stronger — both physically and mentally — enjoy a better quality of life, have fun, and lead by example. 

Like a business playbook, it brings focus to the critical “need to know” pieces of the puzzle, shows you the steps, the “life-ready” standard operating procedures you can adopt, and the mindset that will shape your consistent growth as a leader.

Think of it as your call to arms to have a positive impact on your piece of the world and the people that surround you.

You see, you have something powerful inside you. You can feel it rising up again and again. It’s an unanswered truth about how you want to live your life. It’s your calling to unleash your  inner Everyday Athlete once and for all. 

In fact, every one of us on the planet has that something special inside and, if we allow it to be freed, we can transform our lives and change our bit of the world in the process. 

As in business, modern life is dynamic and has lots of moving parts. As natural disasters and global events such as pandemics have shown in recent days, the ability to adapt is an essential skill. Being “future-proof” requires deliberate and consistent preparation.

Living your best life demands more than a mere academic approach. Many of us spend many hours, days or weeks each year working on business or in a job; planning, strategising, analysing and executing, constantly striving to hit our targets and achieve growth.  

But in doing so, we often get so consumed by this focus on work life, we compromise or even neglect our health and wellness.

The playbook places you at the centre of its focus because, without your health, it’s all for nothing. My aim is to promote the philosophy of fun and fitness in a way that is adapted in a practical manner to suit real life; work and play. If you want to be prepared and future-proof, adopting the idea of “functional fitness” is an ideal place to start.

What is functional fitness?

It’s simply a classification of training that gets your body ready for real-life movements. Often, a blend of strength and mobility training makes movements like lifting, reaching, pulling, or squatting easier. It’s a way of learning to enjoy fitness. Done right, it’s a form of “playing,” something which most adults have unfortunately gotten out of the habit of doing (why is that?).

Functional training is so versatile that it can be used to supplement existing sports activities — everything from footy to triathlon, netball to b-ball; or it can be a hobby and sport in its own right. 

In the simplest terms, it’s the perfect tool for everyday athletes to use, ideally, every day. That doesn’t mean you have to “go hard” every day (in fact, as we’ll see later on, the opposite is true) but, something as simple as moving the body every day will improve your quality of life, help maintain good mental health and, literally extend the time you have on this planet. 

Now, I’m often asked, “What do you mean by ‘Everyday Athletes?’” My answer is simple. They’re the regular people around the world who are not living life as an elite athlete. It’s those who play footy on the weekends but don’t consider themselves footballers; those who swim every morning but don’t consider themselves a swimmer. In essence, it’s anyone who does not belong to the 0.01% of the population making a living as a professional athlete.

Instead, the Lead By Example book is for the 99.99% of the population who have regular jobs, are office-bound or may travel often for work, who start early and finish late, for parents with children who demand so much of their time and attention, and those for whom a regular workout is a hobby — or maybe even a luxury.  

Actually, for many, working out is already much more than that. It’s a guilt-free escape from the phone calls, emails, kids, social media — the hamster wheel of life. It’s a non-pharmaceutical wonder drug that increases our serotonin levels and releases endorphins, raises our self-esteem, and can even help us find the elusive “good night’s sleep” we all desperately crave. 

In fact, if we we really dig in to understand why everyday athletes in the 21st century participate in any sort of training, sport or exercise, there are three fundamental reasons from which we can choose:

  • For some, it’s a sword
  • For others, it’s a shield
  • For most, it’s medicine

If you’re like me (and most Everyday Athletes I speak to around the world), it’s the last of these three options that’s most relatable. And that’s okay. 

Khan Porter is a hugely successful and popular Australian CrossFit athlete and has been very open about his challenges with mental health. So much so that a company he founded is called ~ Sweat Therapy Co. Which of those three options do you think he relates to? Exactly. And that’s my point: training and playing sports is for most of us a form of therapy. 

In the medical world, the word “Therapy” may be defined as “attempted remediation of a health problem, usually following a diagnosis.” Think about it. How many times have you planned to work out at the end of the day but just not gotten there? How many times have you quietly told yourself you’re not good enough or strong enough to do something that you wanted to do? How many times have you looked at your naked reflection in the mirror and wished things were a bit tighter? Or Firmer? Or lighter? You get the idea. 

These are all self-diagnoses. They’re mini-acknowledgements that we would like to do more to feel better but don’t yet have the necessary regimen in place to reach that next goal. And let’s be clear, feeling better is both physical and mental. Feeling better touches every aspect of your life and, importantly, the lives of those around you.

As I will explain shortly, anyone can use the Lead By Example book to feel better; to become stronger (both physically and mentally), become more confident at work and play, and to lead by example for future generations. Whether it’s you inspiring your own kids, your nieces and nephews, or the parents of offspring you’ll never meet, we all have a responsibility to ourselves, our loved ones and the societies in which we live to forge a foundation that is both fun and future-proof.  

And this need for action is not your fault.

While we are in many ways fortunate to be part of a very exciting young century, for all its technical and digital wonders which allow us to travel the world and operate globally, it does bring to bear some serious health challenges for humankind. 

Did you know that at the time of writing the Lead By Example book, one-in-five children and adolescents, globally, were overweight? Or that 39% of all adults are overweight? And you can be sure, these numbers will only get worse as this book ages. But it’s no real surprise, is it? 

Pandemic-related spikes aside, statistics show that most  of us are generally spending more time online — shopping, business meetings, studying, booking holidays, playing games… the list goes on. And while such conveniences and efficiencies were designed to provide us with more free time, the opposite is often the case, as anyone who has “gone down the rabbit hole” can attest. As a result, we’re leading more sedentary lives. That correlates directly to decreasing fitness and associated weight gain.

It gets worse. There’s another health crisis blossoming, as well. It’s estimated that around 1 billion people globally have a mental disorder or substance abuse problem. This is a staggering number that is trending upward at an alarming rate. And it’s easy to understand how the digital revolution is a double-edged sword which, while it has the potential to connect us with others, can have the ironic effect of actually isolating us or making us feel ever more distant. 

When you adopt the routines offered in the Lead By Example playbook, you’ll not only unlock the most truest, awesome version of yourself, but you’ll also become part of a movement that plays an active role in combating these societal dysfunctions. 

And you’ll feel better in every aspect of your life.


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