Why Exercising and Diet Is a Higher Priority Than My Coaching Career
by Donna Dall
It’s not money that motivates us coaches. If it was, it would be difficult to justify the sacrifices we make if the only reward was money. Dollars become mere points in some sort of silly bean counting game. What it’s really about (for me anyway) is building great relationships that last the test of time, doing something that matters by helping athletes achieve their goals and ultimately improving the world and theirs.
For me, exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all.
If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts all other areas of my life, including my coaching business.
For a long time, I was fooled into thinking that if my business wasn’t the top priority, then that meant I wasn’t doing all I could do to make it successful. This is an understandable way of thinking, but it’s completely wrong.
If my life is made up of 10 priorities, then it’s not as simple as saying that if I move the business from being priority two to priority one, that the business is going to benefit. The trick is to figure out which ordering of priorities provides the maximum overall benefit.
For example, when I exercise, that makes me better in every role I have, whether it’s as a coach, wife, mother or friend. If I were to stop exercising because I felt that being a good coach was a higher priority, then ironically, I would end up a worse coach than I was when it when it was a lower priority. Putting exercise first creates a win-win.
I also recently started a strict Keto diet (experimenting different ideas) and while I would NEVER EVER EVER EVER prescribe this to any of my athletes, it works for me! The premise behind the diet means that my body is fuelled by fats and not by carbohydrate. For me, the benefits have been clear! My head is clear of negative thoughts, I have clarity like I have never had before and physically, my skin is clean and clear, I’ve lost a few kilos and I have loads of energy to steam through my busy day. Because it’s so radical and extreme (cultish…maybe a little), I am under no illusion that it’s a long-term sustainable diet but it has been enough to kick-start me. After a period of time I will go back to eating clean whole foods with the re-introduction of carbs in the form of root vegetables and fruit.
I cannot race MTB at a high performance level as this type of eating puts my body into ketosis (burns fat for fuel) which means it is not for high performance XCO athletes but if there was ever a time I took up ultra-endurance (very unlikely in the foreseeable future), reports are it would work just fine. It’s just not suited to XCO MTB! I’m fine with that because my goals are geared toward being a coach and with the clarity and energy I have now, I can be the best coach I can!
The next couple of months for me is about preparing my athletes for the next phase in their training. Some are going overseas this week to compete in the BC Bike Race in Canada (MTB Stage race). I have athletes at home in Australia in base endurance phases and others are working towards bigger goals.
I have athletes (pending selection) who will be competing at the UCI MTB World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne Canada in August. My flights are booked and it is always an honour to support them at the biggest race of the year.
I will keep you updated! Cheers!