Becoming a pro athlete is no laughing matter. While many of us may have indulged in some armchair athleticism in the past—such as watching athletes on TV and thinking we could do better—the fact is that not just anybody can become a pro athlete. 

To compete at the top level, you need a certain set of characteristics and personality traits, and that’s to say nothing of the circumstances you need to be in if you want to make it all the way to the peak. 

Here are 10 things you’re going to need if you want to become a pro athlete.


Unfortunately, pro athletes often need money if they want to compete. This is because many athletics competitions cost money to enter, and if you don’t have major support or backing from a sponsor, you might need to pay your own way. 

Don’t despair, though; there are lots of solutions available for you. Even if you’re a relatively poor athlete and you don’t have a huge income, you could always look to loans for people on benefits, which are widely available. 


It stands to reason that if you’re going to become a pro athlete, you’re going to need to be physically fit. 

We don’t just mean going to the gym every few days, though; the level of fitness you need as an athlete far surpasses anything that most normal people are able to achieve. 

You’ll need to stick to an incredibly strict training regimen, which is why it helps to have a trainer if you can get one. If not, though, there are lots of workouts available online that can help you get fit quickly.

A Good Diet

No pro athlete is able to compete without eating properly. The nutrients you take into your body are just as important as the workouts you do; in fact, many scientists believe that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to physical fitness. 

An athlete’s diet consists of healthy foods; you should balance your nutrition well, which means getting the right amount of everything in every meal you eat. Don’t miss out carbs, but don’t overdo it on them either.


If you’re the kind of person who easily gives up on things, then the career of a pro athlete may not be for you. Just like any position that requires a modicum of ambition, professional athletics is extremely competitive. 

You’re going to experience a lot of rejections and a lot of setbacks on the road to becoming a pro athlete, so you’ll need to be the kind of person who can weather these storms. 

Of course, you can feel dismayed or disappointed when they happen, but the important thing is to keep going.


Pro athletes rarely make it to any kind of position of prominence without a solid support network behind them. 

It helps to have family members or partners in your corner backing you up, but even if you don’t have the support of your family, you should be able to rely on your friends. 

At the very least, it’s a good idea to have a manager, trainer, or coach in your corner that can root for you when the going gets tough. Support is vital to get you through those slump moments (and there will be a few).


If you’re serious about becoming a pro athlete, you can’t really just have “that one burger” or "that one milkshake." 

When you and your trainer draw up a regimen for you to follow, it’s important to make sure you follow that regimen to the letter, or you won’t be able to achieve the level of health and fitness that will allow you to compete at a professional level in athletics. 

If that regimen involves getting up at the crack of dawn to go for a run, then you can’t skip out on doing that, so discipline is important.

Clear Goals

One way to teach yourself discipline is to establish clear goals for your regimen. Ask yourself what you’re training for. Do you want to reach a certain level of body fat? 

Maybe you’d like to run a certain distance within a certain amount of time. Whatever your goal might be, setting it and then working towards it will help you to develop the discipline you need as an athlete. 

It can also give you a reason to fight through the periods of low self-esteem or motivation many athletes experience.

Knowledge of Your Sport

Whether you’re competing in a sport or participating in a certain athletic event, knowing as much as you possibly can about your discipline is extremely helpful. 

This can teach you what the best times in the event are, whether you’re likely to reach them given your particular body type, and what you should be aiming for in terms of goals. 

Theory is just as important as practice when you’re training; if you don’t know proper form or execution, then all the raw athletic talent in the world will go to waste.

A Competitive Spirit

You should view other athletes as competitors and rivals rather than simply as friends. 

While there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from being friends with your fellow athletes off the track, you shouldn’t let those emotions cloud your judgement or get in the way of your performance when you’re competing. 

Make sure that when you’re on the track or the pitch, your mind is only on what you’re doing, and isn’t on whether or not your victory will upset or offend anyone.


Unfortunately, athletics and sport are beset by drug abuse problems and other scandals and controversies. Whether it’s performance steroids or recreational drug use, this can seriously damage an athlete’s reputation and health. 

You’ll need the independence and resilience to reject any offers you might have to take these drugs, no matter how much peer pressure is exerted on you. This can be a serious issue for athletes, so make sure to maintain your personal and professional pride. 


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