We all love admiring those men who take everything to the extreme. These are the guys that push life’s boundaries and always search for new ways to surpass their personal bests. Many of these men pursue careers in innovative industries, become groundbreaking creatives, or change the world by holding positions of power.
Some of these men, however, are athletes.
Extreme sports, including motocross, snowboarding, climbing, rock climbing, skydiving, and more, have always had an undeniable mystique. Part of what makes these sports so attractive is the risk level that comes with them.
There’s more to it than that, though. Another key aspect of extreme sports that gives them their allure is how hard they push you — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Extreme sports make you face your fears, take your body past where you thought it could go, and embrace discomfort. They take you to new depths at the same time they make you spread your wings and soar to new heights.
Many men want to be more like extreme athletes: bold, uncompromising, relentlessly disciplined, and always up for a good time.
Below are our ten lessons from adventure sports to implement into your daily routine.
Lesson One: Seek Discomfort
Adventure sports serve as a reminder that a comfortable life isn’t always a good one. Those who always take the path of least resistance never taste the thrill that extreme athletes get daily. That thrill comes at a cost, though: you have to embrace discomfort like an old friend.
When it comes to your daily routine, there are plenty of easy ways to challenge yourself and make things a bit more uncomfortable. One of our favorite methods of seeking discomfort is taking cold showers.
While there’s no risk in turning the temperature down for your daily shower, it forces you out of your comfort zone and prepares you for the challenges of the day. If you can handle freezing cold water in the morning, what can’t you handle?
Plus, participants in cold weather outdoor recreation like whitewater rafting and snowmobiling can take this as an acclimation technique or as a way to heal muscle stiffness and inflammation.
Lesson Two: Your Gear Should Last
Adventure athletes know that the clothes they wear will always take a beating. That’s why lovers of extreme sports always prioritize high-quality, durable gear that’s compatible with a daredevil lifestyle. You need to trust that your harness will hold you and your parachute will open.
If you want to live like an adventure athlete, choose clothes that can handle the life you live. If you’re constantly finding rips in your shirts and pants, it’s time to level up to threads that won’t break down due to a little wear and tear. High-quality clothes are made to last and can handle everything a fast-paced life will throw at them.
Lesson Three: Your Body Is a Temple
Extreme athletes prioritize physical fitness and discipline above just about anything else. These guys know that an out-of-shape body can’t handle high-intensity exercise, so they make a point to stay in peak physical condition. The adventure sports enthusiast knows that his body is a temple, one that needs constant stewardship.
Engaging in daily exercise is one of the most life-changing pursuits a man can aim for. Even if you’re just jogging a few laps around the block every morning from work, that physical activity can transform your body and change the way you feel about yourself.
Extreme athletes know how much of a difference daily exercise makes, so they build their days around their workouts, preparing for their next expedition. You don’t need to make time in the gym the center of your day to be healthy, but you do need to make time for exercise.
Hiking local trails on the weekend, playing different sports at your community center, and a round of restorative yoga can guide you on your mission for a total mind-body connection.
Lesson Four: You Don’t Have Time for Everything
Adventure athletes lead busy lives, which means they have to keep their priorities in check. These guys know that pursuing a passion means making sacrifices and skipping out on unnecessary commitments and responsibilities. It also means knowing when to say yes and when to say no.
If you’re constantly feeling overstretched and exhausted, take a page out of the extreme athlete’s book and start saying no more often. That doesn’t mean ditching your job, family, friends, and other key responsibilities.
Rather, it might look like setting aside time for workouts instead of playing another hour of video games. Or, your “no” might be leaving a job that pays well but takes all of your time and energy for one that you love.
What’s your “no?” One of the tricks of an adventure athlete is the simple (but complex) tactic of prioritization. You are the pilot of your life.
Lesson Five: Early To Bed, Early To Rise
Waking up early in the morning is tough. So is turning off your phone, shutting down your laptop, and calling it a night before 12 AM. However, if you want to live like an extreme athlete, you’ll need to run a tight ship when it comes to your schedule. Competitors in extreme sports know that every habit makes a difference in how they perform, including how they sleep.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night and end up tossing and turning for hours, it might be time to change some of your daytime habits. Reducing the amount of caffeine that you get from coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks is a solid starting point. Powering down your devices in the hours before bed can help your body and mind wind down faster, too.
Lesson Six: Learn From the Greats
Everyone needs a mentor, including adventure athletes. Competitors in extreme sports have coaches and instructors who give them expert advice and opinions on how to train and prepare for a victory. Even if you don’t play sports, you still need a coach in your life — someone older and wiser who’s been where you are going.
Your “coach” can be anyone who you trust, feel comfortable with, and respect. If you have a good relationship with your father, he’s an ideal mentor and guide as you navigate life's crooked paths. College professors, older friends, and other family members all make excellent mentors as well.
Lesson Seven: Memento Mori
Mortality is always in mind for people who embrace the extreme side of life. Taking risks like the ones involved in adventure sports often means staring death in the face and laughing. We are all but a guest on this blue marble, motivating the mountains and canyons alike.
Death is a part of life, and it makes the time that we visitors have on Earth even more precious. Remembering that you’ll age and eventually pass away serves as a major motivator for taking risks and doing what you’ve always wanted to do, whether that be hang gliding, mountain biking, or a peaceful canoe ride down a river.
That’s why extreme athletes can face their fears and surf the world's highest waves or pull extreme stunts on their jet skis. They know they’d regret not doing it more than they’ll regret doing it.
Lesson Eight: Go Past the Limit
Picture this: you’re in the middle of a set of 40 push-ups. You get to 30, feel the burn, and want to call it a day. What do you do?
For extreme athletes, “feeling the burn” is just a sign that it’s time to push harder. Going past the limit comes with the territory when you love adventure sports, both physically and mentally. That urge to quit is 50 percent physical and 50 percent mental, and extreme athletes know they have to push their minds and their bodies.
If you constantly feel like giving up when the finish line is in sight, this is one lesson you need to take home from adventure sports. The feeling of euphoria when you go past what you thought was your limit is far better than the brief relief of quitting. You’ll regret giving up forever, but you’ll never regret finishing.
Lesson Nine: Find Your Thing
It’s easy to pass through life without knowing what your passions are. These are the things that make your heart race, like bungee jumping. These make you excited to wake up in the morning.
It might not be extreme sports, but you definitely have a passion, and embracing it is part of the path to a life lived to the fullest. Find it and go at it with all you’ve got.
The Everyday Adventure
There’s a lot to learn from the lives of adventure athletes. These men push hard 24/7 for the sake of doing what they love, and there’s nothing more admirable than that. Those with extreme lives embrace discomfort and switch up their daily routines to make things a bit more challenging. It’s hard at first, but they never regret it.