Strength In Others, Strength In Ourselves
On the many social media sites we can follow, we all see pictures and posts online of people who are incredibly strong and fit. When you are working out you might see someone squatting 100 lbs more than you, or doing pull-ups without a band, yep that’s right, without a band! I bet the words “I could never do or look like that” have crossed your mind. I’ll admit, they have gone through my head a time or two. Those instances can occur daily, and we think to ourselves why can’t I do that? It can really take a toll on how we feel our workouts are progressing. Seeing a strong person should not be intimidating and should not lead to a comparison, but we tend to feel a sense of competition with others, especially in a fitness setting.
In the many fitness facilities I have been to, I felt the same way. But when I started to work towards becoming a personal trainer it hit me. Why do I have to be like someone else? Why don’t I just better myself, so I can BE better, DO better, and FEEL better. I was a competitive swimmer for ten years and in that sport, a phrase stuck with me. “Focus on what happens in your lane, it’s your race, just you and the clock.” Although we don’t lift weights in lanes per say, we can apply this to our fitness mentality. There will always be someone better or faster than us. So instead of worrying about that, what we can do is focus on the positives, the improvements we make, and what we can do to better ourselves.
Here are a few things to help you stay focused on your own progress and have the strength inside and out:
1) Track the progress towards your goals: increasing your squat weight or the number of pull-ups you can do won’t change overnight. So tracking your progress and seeing how you improve over the next week, month, and year is a great motivation to keep going.
2) Recognize your strengths and your weaknesses: don’t avoid an exercise you don’t feel strong at. Work at it, and you will get better! One day that weakness can be a strength.
3) Respect another person’s hard work, and tell them! They worked hard to be where they are at, and when someone returns that compliment on your strength, it is more motivation to keep working hard yourself.
4) Celebrate your personal improvement! Be proud of your accomplishments, not envious of another’s. Increased your squat by 10 pounds, great! Rowed more meters in 5 minutes than last week? Fantastic! Be happy with your progress, that means you are one step closer to your goal.
5) Remember, strength comes in all shapes and sizes. There is no cookie cutter look for a strong man/woman!
Everyone has to start somewhere. Whether it is starting with a band on pull-ups, or a 15lb bar on the Olympic lifts, each time you improve is progress. Every day is a step in the right direction.