Competition is a funny thing. In the right dose, trying to beat others can be a fun way to push yourself, drum up motivation and add an element of play to your workout routine. Too much competition and you feel crushed, demotivated and… well, like a loser.
Things like Crossfit can be so great because they tap into our competitive spirits and encourage a sort of beneficial one-up man-ship and sense of community. But for the insecure, the pressure and comparison is unhealthy and aggravating.
You’ve seen that guy crying in class, or during a workout. He didn't need more encouragement from the other members, he needed to rethink his exercise style.
Who are you competing against?
Look closely and see if you’re truly motivated by competing with others. Some people love it, others would rather compete against better and better versions of themselves.
Gym-goer, know thyself.
- Like competing with others? Try a Fitness Bootcamp, Strength and Conditioning program or Muay Thai.
- Like competing against yourself? Try running, weightlifting, yoga, dance or work with a personal trainer.
Are you competing against or with?
Not all competition is the same.
You might enjoy literally racing against a friend and seeing who can do the most reps or the best time. But maybe the winner vs. loser vibe just isn't your style, and you prefer working with a team against something together. Another team. Or the clock.
- Like competing against someone? Try martial arts or competitive lifting.
- Like competing with someone? Try team sports, marathons, spinning or group exercise classes.
It is a competition, but you get to define the rules of the game.
There’s no point in continuing with a program if you feel vaguely crushed by the pressure to perform. Build in a little competitive spirit into your routine and you spice things up a bit – just make sure it’s the right kind of competition.
Are you competitive?