The Importance of Competition
Whether you're working out to stay fit, or training to compete, competition can be a valuable motivator in your exercise routine. I don't just mean competing against other people too. Pushing yourself and doing the best you can each training session is a way to be competitive with yourself. There are a lot of different ways to go about competing that can help you ensure progress with your training program.
This past weekend, I competed at my first local Weightlifting meet in over a year (earlier competitions were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19). Weightlifting, which consists of two lifts and is one of the oldest sports in the Olympics, is a game of numbers and self improvement. Although you technically compete against other athletes in your weight class, a huge part of your measured success comes from how well you improve upon your past performances and personal best lifts. On the other hand, having someone on your competitive level can help push you to put up better numbers and can be a key component in mental drive. Finding either intrinsic or external competition (or both) can have huge benefits in your workouts and discipline, no matter what level you are or what your goals are.
If you are not someone that is not highly competitive by nature and has no interest in doing anything on the competitive level, finding that competition with yourself and striving to become better than your previous self can go a long way. Being competitive with yourself not only gives you an extra push towards your goals, but can be implemented in more ways than one! If you decide to take a more objective approach, push yourself to run that sprint faster than last week, to lift that deadlift heavier than last month, or complete more rounds of your circuit in the same amount of time. Self-competition can also be based on less tangible (but equally important) aspects. For instance, see if you can do each rep for each exercise as perfect or even more perfect than your last rep, or try to get a little bit more range of motion this week than you did last week. Turn it into a game with yourself! Whichever avenue you decide to take, make sure you are making your movement a priority and not pushing yourself to the point of injury.
Now, on the other hand, if you live for competition with others, I would seriously recommend working out with a friend, significant other, or even entering a competition! There are competitive platforms for all types of physical preferences, such as road, trail, or obstacle course races, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman, functional fitness competitions...the list is endless! Even if you do decide not to enter into anything competitive, working out with a close buddy or family member can give you that extra push. While I never recommend comparing yourself with others aesthetic-wise since we are all built in our own unique ways, comparing yourself performance wise with someone close can foster friendly competition and push you past your mental barriers!
No matter how you choose to implement competition into your fitness, it can have a huge benefit to your overall physical performance and mindset! So play around with what works best for you, try something different or a new approach to your training, and knock down those barriers and reach your goals in a healthy, competitive way, no matter what that looks like to you!