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5 Things Successful Athletes Do

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Ryan Villopoto is very good at surrounding himself with good people....Wait a minute, how did that get in there :)

1. They Get Real: Don't let the pros fool you. Achieving racing success is not easy, even though there are some people out there who always seem to make it look so. Successful athletes know this and plan accordingly. They set realistic goals with each event and invest both mental and physical energy towards the achievement of those goals. They equip themselves with an arsenal of effort, patience, and persistence because they know the journey can sometimes be long and difficult. They are realistically optimistic.

2. They Believe In Being THEIR Best, Rather Than Being THE Best: Successful athletes know that, no matter what, there is always room from improvement. It's like squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. Just when you think it's empty, you squeeze out just a little more. In order to do this, however, you must first believe in your innate ability to do so. Sometimes it involves a different technique, strategy, or even a different coach. It also may involve learning a new skill altogether. Your patterns of behavior and abilities are not set in stone, but may sometimes need a new perspective. For instance, many athletes find that embarking on a new training program (Crossfit, yoga, etc.) or a dietary change may actually improve their athletic abilities. Your behaviors and abilities can change with the right motivating factors. In order to so, though, you must believe that they can.

3. They Build Consistency With Small Sustainable Changes: Since I mentioned toothpaste earlier, I'll stick with the theme. Do you think about brushing your teeth? Is it something you dwell upon and dread at least two times per day? No. Of course not. This certainly wasn't the case when you were a child and you went kicking and screaming to the sink. It's no big deal now because it's become a consistent habit and, guess what, it makes you feel good! Without a doubt, the biggest way to create success is to create consistency by making small behavioral changes. Consistency and willpower may as well be a muscle group. The more you use them, the stronger they become.

It's also important to note that success is built on small sustainable changes. How many athletes do you know that go straight to the extremes: “I'm going to cut ALL sugar out of my diet forever,” or “I'm going to run every day for a year,” or “I'm going to become totally Paleo and gluten-free.” Truth is, these conditions are hardly sustainable and very difficult to maintain on a consistent basis. While I don't discount the health benefits to all of the above, I recommend small changes at first. When those become second nature, add in new challenges. Bonus tip: whatever goal you set for yourself, it helps to track your progress towards it - if it's a training goal, keep it in a training log.

4. They Hang Out With Good Apples: Successful athletes surround themselves with positive energy and other successful people. There is a quote that says, “Surround yourself with people who support your dreams.” It may sound a little selfish, but if we all did that, we'd be much happier and more affirmed people. In order to create success, you must feel it. Find those people and groups that support your goals. Eradicate as much negativity from your life as you possibly can. The five people closest to you can have the biggest impact on your success. Choose them wisely.

5. They Have Grit: What a great word. Grit. Anyone who wants to take charge of their own destiny must have grit and stamina. In the same way that it takes guts and thick skin to start a business, it takes similar resolve to become a successful athlete. Fear of failure can be stifling. There will always be naysayers. There will always be self-doubt. However, you must commit to the long-term goals and hold firm in the face of challenges and difficulty. Your training and race plans rarely go exactly as planned and it takes guts to get through life's curveballs and detours. Success is built upon the fortitude to see it through and stick it out.

Successful athletes aren't superhuman. They simply possess and utilize consistent skill sets that elicit positive results. They believe in themselves and their ability to constantly improve. They set realistic goals, they surround themselves with the right people, and they stay the course through tough times.

For more great articles like this one, check out the Training Peaks Blog!

About the Author: Carrie Barrett is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Her articles have appeared on Ironman.com, Lavamagazine.com, Livestrong.com, and TrainingPeaks.com. Barrett is also a regular columnist for Austin Fit Magazine . For more information on her coaching, speaking and writing, visit fomotraining.com and follow her on Twitter: @fomocoach

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    Allen Gnuschke February 16, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Great insights on what makes a winner.

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