In an interview with Mary Beth Prodromides, four-time, World CrossFit Masters Champion, we discovered what it takes to be a champion. Her candid personality is adorable and instantly inspires anyone coming closer to her. Her principles are simple and yet they have all the power necessary to put anyone on a podium. The definition of what is your podium is the first step of the process.
Knowing What You Want
Mary Beth had her “WHY” well defined in her first year of preparing for the Games. She wanted to be on the podium and was ready to do everything she needed to do to get there. Her approach was: “I am going to work as hard as it is possible until I reach that goal.” It took her unfailing dedication and a lot of training.
Practice, Practice, Practice
She was not afraid to practice over and over again. Repetition is the key in the execution of a training program and she conscientiously adopted it, and it paid off. Time was more challenging when she had to learn a new skill, but again; challenges were accepted. She was able to put in the effort to learn and then to improve skills she didn’t have. Anything that would bring her closer to her goal was totally accepted in her mind. “If it is what it takes, I am doing it,” she tells herself constantly. She took each day as new with one goal: to do better than the day before, counting her little wins, one after the other.
Know Your Mind Battle
It may sound easy to follow her guidelines but she acknowledges that it took her years to recognize the discouraging “bully voice” in her head. Facing it was a challenging task she had to live through. How many times do we hear that sport is 90% a mental game? When speaking with an accomplished athlete you don’t grasp the significance of that mind battle. They hide it well and they make extraordinary performances look so easy. Mary Beth’s achievements couldn’t have happened without good coaching, family and friends’ support. Being well surrounded when you pursue your goal is your key to success.
Good Nutrition is Mandatory
The importance of eating well as an athlete is mandatory, and so, in life in general. She did the best she could to learn about it and it should not be a barrier to anyone. For her, potatoes, eggs and fresh greens go a very long way. It is part of the process to learn everything that brings you closer to your goal. There is nothing you can’t learn in life, and staying healthy, including good nutrition, allows you the strength to pursue your dreams!
Be prepared to do what you have no control over
If you hear athletes talking about their day-to-day schedule, you may envy their daily body recovery sessions to help their body to recover properly between hours of workout sessions. We certainly do. Mary Beth surprised us when she said that the most difficult thing is not dedication, repetition, or execution of the plan, but it is to be able to do what is time-consuming and not as fun as being in the gym. She continued, saying; “going to chiropractors, massage therapy, meditation sessions, or else, takes a lot of your precious time and onto something you have no control on.” The other thing she mentioned is managing to get good sleep in - the major component of recovery - something that it is very difficult to keep control on as well. Anything she can’t control but is part of the champion training execution plan has been the hardest for her.
After a year of that regimen she earned her first title in the 2011 50-54 category. That made her more motivated to get on the podium again, getting 2nd in 2012, 7th in 2013 and 1st again in 2014. Her group age category changed but her performance continued with two first positions in 2016 and 2018, a 2nd in 2017 and an 8th in 2019. Mary Beth was consistent in her dedication to training year after year. Some injuries have taken over her body a couple of times and she had to learn how to deal with that too. She has finally recovered completely and may consider competition again.
Your Ultimate Goal
Does life need to be hard? It is a matter of perspective. When you choose an ultimate goal that becomes your internal desire, nothing will seem hard to you, according to Mary Beth Prodromides. Maybe you’ll find difficulties in pursuing some steps, and you’ll need to reassess as you go. But you’ll know that each and every effort you put into the process will bring you closer to the success you are looking for. She likes to say that there are rewards in not giving up, and that in itself is part of your daily wins, which contribute to the motivation you need. One win after another. Her mantra to you is: If she could do it, anyone can do it. It is a matter of practice (a lot!) and discipline, both available to any of us.