The Sacrifices Elite Athletes Have to Make

Elite athletes have to have a complete dedication to their sport. And that comes with a ton of sacrifices. Let's take a look at some of the most significant.

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To become an elite athlete in any sport requires a level of talent, without doubt. In some sports, some people may have genetic advantages even. But talent and genetics without hard work won’t cut it. In fact, it’s the hard work, consistency, commitment and dedication that play the biggest part in the success of elite athletes.

That dedication comes at the expense of many other aspects of an elite athlete’s life. We take a look at some of the biggest sacrifices that elite athletes make.

1. Social Lives

We’re not saying elite athletes cannot have any element of a social life. But time is incredibly tight if you’re training for multiple hours (often around work or school) which will immediately limit your social life to some degree.

2. Diet

You don’t have to be a teetotal clean eater 100% of the time. But, erm, you need to get pretty close. According to recent alcohol consumption statistics, just 12.5% of adults in the UK declare themselves teetotal. We don’t have an equivalent figure just for elite sports people. But there are high profile athletes who are openly teetotal and, without doubt, the amount of alcohol you consume can negatively impact your physical capabilities. So the freedom to drink what you like is impacted.

Similarly, your sport will require a certain diet. If you partake in a sport that requires incredibly low body fat, you’ll be fat restricted. If you’re a body builder, you’ll need incredibly high protein levels and so forth.

Elite athletes may even have very specific diet plans provided to them.

3. Finances

Unless you’re a professional sportsperson, chances are it’s costing you to take part in your sport. Travel expenses, equipment expenses, accommodation, competition fees, memberships to sporting bodies… the costs of following a sport as an elite athlete can be astronomical.

4. Personal relationships

When time is tight and you’re required to spend such a chunk of your personal time training, finding the time to build and maintain personal relationships can be challenging. Not just romantic relationships, but even keeping up friendships or staying in close contact with family members can be challenging.

Elite athletes need very understanding friends, families and partners!

It’s a mindset

They’re by no means the only sacrifices that elite athletes make to get to the top of their game. But they’re amongst some of the more notable.

Ultimately, there’s a real strength of mind required in order for an athlete to hit elite level and pursue competition at the highest level.

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