The Thief of Joy: Comparison

pinterest-thief-of-joyThe gym, especially State of Fitness, is a wonderful place for people to clear their head, relieve some stress, move better, lift heavy stuff, and have fun! I know from experience that we don’t always feel this way about the gym. I used to fall off that comparison cliff every time I entered the gym. Instead of just getting in and getting my lift on, I found myself looking at what other people were doing, what they were wearing, even their body type. That little green monster would come out and I would think, “Oh, I wish I had her legs, mine are like tree trunks”, or “I will never be able to lift as much as her, I must be so weak.”

The truth is that we are all on our OWN fitness journey. We can look up to others, love what they do, and copy their workouts, but we can’t begin to compare ourselves to others. My mindset used to be all wrong, and it has taken a few years to change it. As human beings it is only natural to compare ourselves to others, but how can we do that when we are all so different? It took experience in the gym, confidence building, and somebody acceptance to give my mindset a 180, and I still have those moments where I find myself in the comparison trap. I think that fitness expert and mother of four Sophie Guidolin says it best, “Seek inspiration, but never comparison.”

The other day I worked out with an amazing group of women in one of Kyle’s semi-private training sessions. We laughed, chatted, and lifted some super heavy weights. I was looking around me and thinking “this is why I love my job, these women are pushing themselves to lift heavier and sprint faster every round”. These women unknowingly pushed me to work harder and be better.

After laying on the floor, exhausted from some grueling air dyne sprints, one of these fabulous applesorangewomen came to lend me a hand off of the floor, one complemented me on my super cool workout pants, and another sent me the cutest post-workout message. Kara sent me this after our workout together, “ Hi Maddy! Just wanted you to know I think you are AMAZING!! Watching you squat (not to sound like a weirdo, lol) was truly inspiring & motivating! It was great workout out with you today. I hope my muscles look like yours someday!!!!”.

This was such an amazing moment for me because it not only made me smile and give me a little boost for the day, but it is such a huge step for women! We compare and judge each other ALL. DAY. LONG. on hair, make-up, family life, significant others, clothes, house, car, body type, the list is truly endless. If we consistently focus on the negatives in our lives or try to put down others to boost our own self-esteem, we will always be unhappy.

We do not have the right to say that someone is too fat or too skinny, too pretty or too “fake”, comparequotetoo healthy or too unhealthy, too perfect or too haphazard. I am guilty of doing ALL of these things. Judgment of myself and of others is something I have been working on for a long time; it’s a difficult thing not to do.

Some are just starting their fitness journey, others have taken a break from fitness, and some have been fitnessing (just made this up) their whole lives. Jill Coleman makes a good point when she says to her clients, “don’t compare your month #1 to someone else’s year #5”. We must seek inspiration from our peers, compliment others when we think positive things about them, but also have confidence in our own fitness journey and appreciate how far we have come.

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