Badass. As an adjective, it's a buzzword people throw around on posters and pepper conversations with. But change it to a noun, and everything changes. If you're a badass, you can back up what you say with action. You've done the hard work to build your foundation—and then some. Maybe you can do seriously impressive stuff, but you're not just another showoff. 

This year, we want you to become a badass.

We checked in with Performix athletes and top trainers Andy Speer, Danielle Belanger, Mike Vazquez, Jennifer Esquer, and Scott Mathison to get at the true meaning of the word—and gain first-hand advice on how to make 2017 the year you make it happen.

Andy Speer: Make Tough Look Easy

"Badass, to me, is all about making tough things look easy. You combine power and grace into one fluid movement. Sure, aesthetics play a role, but performance—not just a well-defined V-taper or six-pack abs—is what really makes the distinction. 

Being a badass is about reframing your mindset. Athletes don't 'work out' to prepare for a competition; they train. There's something inherently motivational about going to practice, and that's what you need to cultivate. On days when motivation is lagging, it's about showing up anyway

2017 The Year You Become A Badass: Andy Speer

Training needs to become like brushing your teeth. No, it may not be the most intense training session every single day. Sometimes, you just go through the basic motions and don't floss. But if you show up and do what you can, you'll end up with some pearly whites. 

To really make 2017 count, ask yourself one simple question. Why? What's different about this year? Don't even open things up to fitness yet; just think in broader terms. Once you figure out why you want to make a change, you've pegged your driving force. Write it down and read it daily. Keep coming back to it—especially in trying times. Remember your why, and use it to fuel your journey.

It takes years of practice and countless hours of work to build a foundation that supports flashy, technical moves. Appreciate each time you gain the next level of skill, no matter how small the progression. String a hundred progressions together, and before you know it, you've mastered a skill. The bottom line: Stick with it."

Danielle Belanger: Plan, Measure, Improve, Share

"It all comes down to confidence—knowing your strengths and how to use them. The ultimate badass not only balances their confidence with humility, but they use their strengths to help others. 

2017 The Year You Become A Badass: Danielle Belanger

To get there, set a measurable goal, reverse engineer it, and take it one day at a time. Think long-term instead of whatever gives you immediate gratification. Once your goals match your vision, you can achieve more, and it won't feel like work. That's how you know you're on the right path. 

It's pretty simple: If you want your life to change, you need to change your life. Do things with purpose, and enjoy every moment along the way. Follow through when you make plans, and commit to constant improvement."

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Mike Vazquez: Make Your Goals and Your Life One

"The line between being fit and being a badass is being humble. That may not be the answer you expect, but it's true! If it wasn't for the obstacles I've encountered—my falls, my mistakes, and the storms I've weathered—I wouldn't be modest and grateful for my accomplishments. In life, you'll get knocked down, but learning from slipups is what makes you a badass in your craft. 

When you're a badass, you cast self-doubt and negativity aside. It won't be easy, but with proper nutrition, training, and an unwavering belief that you'll get there. it's really just a matter of time and how much you want it. 

2017 The Year You Become A Badass

I personally make it my number one priority to have a physical copy of what I want to work on, both long-term and short-term, and I update it and cross things off as I go. I also keep motivational phrases nearby me at all the times. They can be as simple as 'Don't Stop,' 'Work Harder,' and 'Be You' on Post-its. It doesn't have to be complicated. It just has to speak to you.

Most importantly, being a badass means focusing on the fundamentals. For me, they're not only key to fitness, but key to my lifestyle. This is something I will never stop doing, so it's important that I have a strong foundation to prevent injury and stay healthy. It's not just recreation. For me, fitness is something I can share with my son. It's life."

Jennifer Esquer: Movement, Not looks

"I'm moved by anyone who chooses to honor their body and adopt an active lifestyle. In order to be fit, you must be a badass! It means you are taking time out of your day to put yourself first and take care of your body. That is truly badass to me. 

Our lives are full of excuses to not move. So, anyone who can push past the excuses, no matter how they look aesthetically or what their skill level is, has earned my respect. 

2017 The Year You Become A Badass: Jennifer Esquer

Personally, I encourage people to set goals separate from aesthetics and appearance. Set goals based on hiking with the family, lifting, playing with your kids, or learning a new skill. When we get too hung up on outward appearances to drive our motivation, it's usually short-lived.

That's not your fault! It's the fault of your goals. Shifting your mindset to working out no matter how you look is key to longevity and health."

Scott Mathison: Commit, Work, and Change

"A badass doesn’t just attract attention with a solid physique, they back it up with awesome functional ability. When I train, I try to put myself through workouts that nobody else wants to do, but not because I want to be better than other people,

I’m trying to better than who I was yesterday; the best version of myself, always. I try to lift harder, heavier, and longer then the day before, and then after I'm done with the weights, I'll hit a functional workout

2017 The Year You Become A Badass: Scott Mathison

What I do is not unachievable, though. When someone approaches me and is feeling discouraged, I tell them they can do it too. It's true!

Three years ago, I was an average gym rat. Then I started adding functional training, calisthenics, and free running. My physique changed, and so did my abilities. I started at 30, and now at 32, I'm stronger than ever. I mean it when I say that if I can do it, anyone can."

About the Author

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith is a New York native who caught the fitness bug while earning a master's in journalism at the University of Missouri.

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