Wait: you don’t want to be a pro exerciser. You don’t want to go to the CrossFit Games. Me neither. Read on…

I spent most of last week cain Madison, meeting with other gym owners and some of the new higher-ups at CrossFit HQ. Between meetings and meals, I managed to watch some of the fittest people in the world race through a bunch of challenges.

I saw teenagers snatch over 200lbs. I saw 60-year-olds squat over 300lbs. I watched running, swimming, cyclocross, and obstacle courses, and saw the same athletes compete in all of them.

These folks are pros. They have sponsors and they’re competing for money. They have fans and t-shirts with their names on the back. Fitness is the centre of their lives.

But I work out every day with pro exercisers. None of THEM have sponsors or get paid to work out. I’m probably their greatest fan. So how can I call them pros?

It’s simple: exercise is a cornerstone of their lives. Exercise is more than a habit: it’s a priority. It’s just what they do.

You become a pro at what you practice.

Listening to Steven Pressfield (author of “The Legend of Baggar Vance” and “The War of Art”) on my way to work this morning, I was struck by his writing habits. He devoted himself to writing for 16 years–quitting jobs, giving up relationships–before he had anything published. He did it because “writing is not an end. I’ll never be ‘done’. Writing is my practice.”

Then he told a story about working out with his trainer:

“I said something about my ‘exercise habit’. He told me ‘It’s not a habit; it’s your life.'”

Like me, Pressfield doesn’t have time to screw around in the gym: he’s busy writing. So he has a coach to optimize his workouts. He’s made it part of his life. He’s a pro writer AND a pro exerciser.

You don’t need exercise to become your WHOLE life. You just need to practice fitness to be a pro.

(And part of that practice is occasional testing. Sign up for the Catalyst Games here.)