Have you ever faced someone at your gym who trains at the same time or attends the same classes and always seems to lift a little more or run a bit faster? Or perhaps you have a similar person whom you’ve never met in real life, but know from social media or their workout scores on the whiteboard. You might just have a gym rivalry…
Author: Esther Avant has an exercise science degree, is an ACE-certified personal trainer and weight loss specialist and a Precision Nutrition Level 2 nutrition coach.
Out-flexing your gym rivals – The counter position
Having a gym rival isn’t necessarily good or bad; it depends on how it makes you feel. If having that person pushes you outside your comfort zone to keep up or come out on top, awesome – you’re probably getting fitter as a result.
However, if it discourages you that, despite your best efforts, this person appears to be a slightly fitter version of yourself, then the rivalry isn’t doing you any favors. Competitiveness is a double-edged sword and here’s how to tell if it’s helping or harming you.
Questions to ask yourself about the gym rivalry
– If seeing your gym rival makes you want to not even try, the dynamic may be harming you. However, if you are excited to see them because you know your workout will be that much better, it is helping you.
– If you can’t be happy for your rival’s accomplishments, it maybe harming you. If you can celebrate their victories while being motivated by their successes it is probably helping you.
– If how you stack up as compared to your rival is the deciding factor on whether or not you are happy with your performance, it may be harming you. If you appreciate the push you get from having your her next to you (or in your head) while still being happy with your best effort, it is probably helping you.
– If you dislike your rival and find them consuming your thoughts outside the gym, it may be harming you. If the thought of them helps light a fire under you’re ass and you can high five and hang out afterward, it is helping you.
How to handle the rivalry
What to do to end an in-person rivalry is not as simple as clicking a button to make them disappear. Do they even know they’re a rival or is it completely one-sided? If at all possible, try to work out at a different time so that you can keep them out of sight and avoid peaking at the whiteboard if they’ve been at a class before you.
If you must workout at the same time, try not to set up right beside them. Instead, pick a space further away so you can focus on yourself. Remind yourself throughout, and immediately following, the workout that you are doing this for you.
When self-doubt or comparisons creep in, take a trip down memory lane at how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished. A gym rival can go from helpful to harmful or vice versa.
Staying aware of how this dynamic is making you feel is the best way to make sure you don’t let it become larger than life. Remember why you are working out and trying to better yourself in the first place – for you and no one else.