Hey, skydiver-to-be: Guess what? Skydiving is an actual-factual sport, and you’re about to become an actual-factual athlete! Are you surprised by that? It’s no wonder. The modern media has framed skydiving as a thrill ride, but nothing could be further from the truth. As a tandem skydiving student, you’ll be a contributing member of a two-person sports team that gets you from the door of the airplane to the ground. Exciting stuff, no? Let’s get you ready.

1. See yourself as an athlete.

If you’re carrying the weight of the world on your waistline, you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes to prepare for tandem skydiving. Like all other safety-mined dropzones, Skydive Chicago enforces a weight limit. (Here, our weight limit is 250 pounds for height-to-weight proportionate people.)

Aside from the (totally necessary) skydiving weight limit, it turns out that jumping out of planes has a surprisingly brief list of limiting medical conditions. Of course, if you have preexisting conditions, you should definitely check those out with your doctor first.

Dress like an athlete

2. Fuel like an athlete.

A tandem skydiving adventure is a moderate athletic event. Treat it with the same respect. Before you arrive, eat normal amounts of moderate, nutritious food and get hydrated. When you pack in the morning for your tandem skydiving adventure, make sure to toss water and a few healthy snacks in your bag.

3. Dress like an athlete.

You wouldn’t wear a sundress and those cute new gladiator sandals to run a 10k. Do yourself a favor and don’t make a similar mistake for your skydive. Dress for the same moderate athletic event you ate and hydrated for: Wear appropriate clothing and bring along extra (thin, insulating) layers, just in case you discover a need for them.

Get that starting gun ready

4. Think like an athlete.

We know we’re biased, but it really does feel like the whole field of sports psychology was developed just for skydiving. It’s intense, after all. The intensity of the experience is what makes it great, right? If it were easy it wouldn’t be worth it. And boy, howdy, is it worth it.

The challenge is what delivers the benefits. You know that already, of course, because you’ve gone through this process over and over in your very own life. Remember learning to ride a bicycle? To drive a stick-shift car in crazy city traffic? To ask somebody out on a date? That stuff is so hard, but the payoff is enormous. Same with skydiving.

5. Get that starting gun ready.

Once you’re all prepped for your sprint to the sky, there’s only one thing left to do: jump!

Once you’ve taken the “unknown” out of “fear of the unknown,” you’ll quickly discover that there’s nothing left in your world to be afraid of. You’ll find your courage along the way, just like everyone else does, and you’ll come through this with a smile as bright as a gold medal. Book your jump today!