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Active Champions

Active Champions Series: Justyn Knight

The Active Champions Series is a monthly showcase of inspiring stories from influential Canadians who make physical activity and sport a key part of their everyday lives.

“The hardest part is just going out there and doing it. It gets easier as you get started. I’ve experienced that in many ways.”

JUSTYN KNIGHT with Canadian flag

PHOTO COURTESY: JUSTYN KNIGHT’S OFFICIAL INSTAGRAM @JUSTYN.KNIGHT

When it comes to making physical activity an essential part of your everyday life, setting goals and getting started are two of the most important things to check off your list to set yourself up for success.

Whether it be going for a few five-minute walks a week or spending more time in the garden or even running a marathon, the best approach for achieving your goals is the one that works for YOU. Take, for example, Canadian track star and Olympic medal hopeful at the upcoming Tokyo summer games, Justyn Knight, who uses his end goal as motivation to reach the pinnacle of his sport.

“I always think about the end goal, and what I actually want to accomplish at the end of my running career,” Justyn shared with ParticipACTION. “Any pro athlete at any level wants to win a championship. For me, as a track-and-field athlete, that’s the Olympics. And while I’ve accomplished a lot of great things along the way, I know those things are a steppingstone for me to reach what I am actually truly training for.”

“Being active in nature takes you away from the rush of everything.”

JUSTYN KNIGHT training outdoors

PHOTO COURTESY: JUSTYN KNIGHT’S OFFICIAL INSTAGRAM @JUSTYN.KNIGHT

“I always think, ‘people are training harder than me,’ there’s people out there that want to beat me, there’s someone out there aiming for a bigger goal than mine – so I always try to keep that in mind to continue to grow and be better.”

As a kid growing up in downtown Toronto, Justyn recognized at an early age the impact that a fast-paced big city life can have on your mental and physical well-being. Those memories are not lost on him today as a soon-to-be 25-year-old training for his first Olympic games.

“Being active in nature takes you away from the rush of everything,” said Justyn. “You get to soak it in and appreciate the world we live in and the natural beauty of it. I think that’s something that’s very soothing that I don’t think a lot of people get to experience, especially in big cities. It’s a great way to relieve you of whatever stress you’re going through in life.”

JUSTYN KNIGHT celebrating

PHOTO COURTESY: JUSTYN KNIGHT’S OFFICIAL INSTAGRAM @JUSTYN.KNIGHT

As a long-distance runner training in the lead up to a major event, Justyn is obviously pushing himself both physically and mentally to be the best he can be every single day. But even someone who needs to be in peak physical condition for their livelihood can have trouble staying committed.

It happens to all of us, and that is just fine. The setbacks don’t define you, it’s how you bounce back that does.

“The hardest part is just going out there and doing it,” Justyn said. “It gets easier as you get started. I’ve experienced that in many ways. Sometimes I wake up and I’m like, ‘Man, I do NOT want to get up and do this’. Just commit to it. When you commit to doing something and get started, you realize that it’s not as hard as you thought it was. Then you end up being very thankful that you did do it. Just keep pushing!”

Keep an eye out for Justyn at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, where he will be competing for Canada in long-distance track at multiple distances.

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