Redefining 'The Athlete' - The Big Debate

Redefining 'The Athlete' - The Big Debate

Here at U Perform, we aren't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and tackle one of the big questions...⁠

"What is an athlete?"⁠

Is it being the fastest or the strongest? Or winning medals?

We are steadfast in our opinion that everyone is an athlete - read on to find out why...

Often when people think of the words ‘athlete’, ‘sports nutrition’ and 'supplements' there are a few things that instantly come to mind...

They think of elite sports people. Those with all the gear, who can run fast, lift heavy and ultimately win medals right? Everything that television or social media perhaps encourages them to aspire to? And we are all guilty of this at some point or another.

But what if the actual definition of an athlete is far less exclusive? What if an athlete is you and I? Those just looking to get and stay active whilst tackling the rest of life’s challenges…

To help explain this a little better, here’s a practical example…

Let’s say we take an Olympic 5000m runner and a first time couch to 5km runner. Traditional opinion would class one of these very clearly as the ‘athlete’ and the other not. But we don’t think that is the case.

Ask both of them to run, on a treadmill, as hard as they can, and they really aren’t very different at all…once we take away more traditional ideas that athletic performance has to be the fastest, the strongest, or the one who inevitably runs further at any given effort.

In this case, they are both running as hard as each other at their own relative effort and they are both demonstrating exceptional athleticism and being active at their respective levels. In fact, if there is a difference at all, it’s that our novice runner most likely does not have the luxury of unlimited recovery time, or performance support like our Olympic runner will have. Making their effort even more impressive.

For a first time runner who is following their 8 week couch to 5km plan for example, a lot of the runs they will do are going to be incredibly difficult as they get used to being active, perhaps for the first time, or at least after a considerable time away from exercise.

(We have teamed up with our co-founder Prof. Greg Whyte OBE to create our very own 8 week U to Running couch to 5km programme. You can check it out on our website - click here)

Factor in that these people have busy lives away from physical activity, you start to really understand just how much more difficult it can be for them to maintain their active lifestyle and achieve their goals. And for them each and every minute of physical activity is an achievement worth celebrating.

When their workout ends, life carries on. Jobs, socialising, school runs and shopping trips. That's why we think that everyone is an athlete!

To us, an athlete is anyone getting involved in physical activity. And definitely when that is in addition to the hectic everyday lives they may already lead. An athlete is:

  • The gym goer
  • A couch to 5km or parkrunner
  • A busy parent or worker
  • The cycle commuter
  • Yoga class regular

And many, many more…

You are an athlete when you care about your performance, more than your appearance. When you find yourself less distracted by how exercise makes you look and more by how it makes you feel, or what you need to do to beat your PB on your next run…you are an athlete.

When you focus more on having fun and improving your skills more than you do on just getting your workouts over and done with like they are a chore…you are an athlete.

When you look forward to your next workout as much as you do the all-important rest days…you are an athlete.

No matter your fitness level, if you move, if you try; you are an athlete.

When you start treating food as fuel; fuel to drive and improve your workouts as well as the rest of your daily life…you are an athlete.

Bringing it a little closer to home for us here at U Perform; if our conventional definition of ‘athlete’ has now changed; so too has that of ‘sports nutrition’ as the very foods, diets and crucially supplements, that fuel us.

And that’s where U Perform come in. We strongly believe in and are passionate about nutrition, and its proven ability to enhance our preparation, performance and recovery.

That’s why we go beyond the conventional, opening new possibilities, allowing innovation to flourish. And why each and every one of our products are unique and carefully formulated with the help of our co-founder, Olympian and Sport Scientist – Professor Greg Whyte OBE.

The team here at U Perform alongside Prof. Greg, believe that everyone is an athlete in their own right and whether they are chasing Olympic gold or just getting started on their fitness journey - that means we should offer both the exact same level of support.

Check out the clip below to find out more from Greg about the importance of supplementation - for everyone!

Performance isn’t exclusive to those at the peak of the sporting world. Performance means: crushing your next HIIT workout at the gym, your weekend bike ride or just taking 30 minutes out of your day to complete a yoga routine. All of these positively affect our physical & mental health and enable you to have the rich quality of life that you deserve. So...

When performance matters… choose U Perform!


What does being an athlete mean to you? Let us know in the comments below. Share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.