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The Champions Mindset

**Editors note: the following article is a guest post from Katie Prendergast head coach at  Katie is a personal trainer based in Denver. Using online fitness and nutrition coaching, her clients train for strength, aesthetics, and conquering life outdoors.  Check out her site for more great articles and advice on becoming a badass!

Recently, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the US NBA Finals, ending the city’s fifty-plus-year drought of professional sports championships.


Throughout the season and all through the playoffs, the city and team went “All In.”  The motto was everywhere, especially as the Cavs steamrolled over the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, sweeping both teams.  For a town of realists/pessimists, it was almost too good to be true.  Dare we hope, as Clevelanders who experienced first-hand the many epic failures of our teams in the playoffs (The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, the ’97 World Series), the disappointment of our football team moving to another city, and LeBron James making his infamous decision to “take his talents to South Beach”… dare we hope that this would finally be our year?


When the Toronto Raptors dealt the Cavs their first playoff loss, and then took the series into a 2-game tie, the city didn’t slip back into its usual “there’s always next year” mentality.  Funny enough, the “All In” spirit grew stronger, more resolute.  There was hope.  Why?  Maybe Cleveland fans could just feel it.


And the Cavs delivered.  Two straight wins to finish off the Raptors and capture the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Cavs were going back to the Championship Round for a second chance at the Warriors, the defending champions. Cleveland was electric.  The “All In” spirit spread like wild fire.


The seven games of the Finals were incredible to watch.  Whether you’re a Golden State fan, a Cavs fan, or a sports fan in general, that was basketball on its grandest stage.  The drama was all there.  The players held nothing back.


If you’re from Cleveland, the last quarter of Game 7 was like torture.  But damnit if the Cavaliers didn’t pull off the miracle of the century.  The team, the city, truly went “All In.”  I’m not going to lie.  I cried a little when the Warriors heaved up their final, unsuccessful shot, and the buzzer sounded with the Cavs on top, victors in a fifty-year-long sporting war.  The feeling of coming together, uniting under one goal, and executing on that level – it’s nothing short of amazing.


The NBA Championship season wouldn’t have happened, though, without each and every Cavalier showing up, playing their hearts out, and leaving everything on the court.  A team is just a group of individuals busting their butts to get better together.  The City of Cleveland should be proud of their Cavaliers and proud of themselves for never wavering in their belief.  We were “ALL IN” – mentally, emotionally.


The experience of this NBA season reminded me of playing high school lacrosse.  My team had its ups and downs, but we bonded one season in a way that was magical, and in an equally dramatic, last-second championship game, we emerged victorious because we believed that we could.  That had been our motto that season: “we believe.”


What does this have to do with your health and fitness?

It comes down to mindset.  Without the mindset, the unwavering belief in something greater than yourself, you’re not going to accomplish anything.  Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t… you’re right.  Banish thoughts of failure from your mind.  There is no room for doubt in the heart of a champion.


Even if you don’t play professional sports, or any sports for that matter, the right mindset is crucial for achieving your health and fitness goals.  Trainers sometimes talk about setting “SMART” goals: those that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.  But the real key to unlocking your potential is the belief that the end goal is possible.  Without that belief, you are doomed to fail, no matter how “smart” a goal you set yourself.


But belief alone is not enough. As martial arts legend Bruce Lee said, “willing is not enough; we must do.” Establish your goal, make a plan of action, and attack the steps in that plan ruthlessly every day until you achieve those goals.


The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t just show up to the NBA Finals and beat the defending champs.  They put in the work, day by day, at practice, in each of the eighty-two regular season games, and in each playoff game leading up to the Finals.


Did they lose some games?  Yes, of course.  But they had a game plan that allowed them to refocus on winning the next game and the one after that.  They had coaches pushing them to their limits, calling the plays, and keeping them focused on the finish line.  They had fans cheering them on through wins and losses.


In short, they had a great external support system.  When the going got tough, they could fall back on that support system and find the strength to carry on their mission. When they stumbled, someone pulled them back up.


When you falter on the path to your goals – and you will – make sure you also have a strong support system.

Whether your health and fitness goal is to lose ten pounds, run a marathon, win a powerlifting meet, or help your team become champions – believe that you can do it, have a plan for getting there, and surround yourself with people who support you in your goal.  You will have no other option than seeing it through to the end. Go “ALL IN” and you WILL be successful.


Katie Pendergast


Facebook: KPxFitness

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