A former roommate set up a “competition jar” for me much like some people have a “swear jar”. Every time I tried to turn an every day thing into a competition, I had to put a quarter in my jar.
I’m a competitive person. But I’ve found ways to use my competitive spirit as a healthy form of motivation and drive. When I have no one to go for a run with, I push myself by constantly trying to catch or keep up with the stranger in front of me on the running path. That’s healthy and effective. But when does competitive working out become unhealthy?
I don’t have the answer. I’m not sure that there is one specific answer that fits all people and all situations, but I do know this: when you feel so competitive with the person working out next to you that you cheat, that you do less reps to finish faster, that’s no longer healthy or motivating and you lose in the long run.
CrossFit, which is self described as “competitive working out”, is what has me thinking about this. Most of the time at CrossFit, unless you are in a competition, you are the only person counting how many reps you complete. It becomes tempting to cut a few off so that you are the fastest athlete or so you aren’t the slowest. And there’s nothing motivating, productive or healthy about cutting yourself short.
I don’t pay for gym memberships. I work at them and attend classes for free, or I buy cheap deals from Web sites such as Groupon. I thought it was because I am cheap and often broke, but apparently it was because no one gym had yet to present me with a reason why I, a fitness professional, should give them my money. Until now.
There are many reasons why I choose to spend over $100 a month at CrossFit 215, but I know you don’t want to read paragraph after paragraph about the awesome, strong female friends that I have made there; the welcoming, family environment; or the fun, creative, results-creating workouts. So instead, I’ll just tell you what happened today at class.
Still recovering from car accident-related injuries that were on fire this week after I pushed them through a half marathon on Sunday, I wasn’t able to fully push myself today. Go to your neighborhood sales-driven gym and you’re lucky if anyone notices. Go to CrossFit 215 and not only will someone notice, but they will take time out to help. The coach today noticed that I was sub-par and took me aside to show me some exercises that I should be doing to release the tension in my hip.
I challenge you to find another gym that will do the same! … though Amrita Yoga and Wellness is coming pretty close. So far I am still attending classes using my bargain-bought 10-class card, but if the finances align you might see me paying two exercise facilities a month!