So this isn’t a story about weight lifting and being masculine.
It is a story about drive.
A few weeks ago at the Kettlebell Competition, I met a client of another trainer at the gym.
When I introduced myself, he said, “Oh so you’re the Cori that did the VersaClimber stuff!”
I probably blushed a little and said, “Yup.”
He then said to me, “Yea we hear all about you all the time at the 5 a.m. hour! You were so driven…It’s like you thought you were a man you pushed so hard!”
I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped open, although I didn’t have a mirror to confirm this.
Because I really really wanted to accomplish my goal and pushed hard, I must have thought I was a man!?!
I laughed awkwardly and walked away quickly. I had no idea how to respond. I was completely floored.
Yes…I am super driven. I won’t let anything get in the way of me accomplishing my goals.
Yes…I am super competitive. I don’t like losing even if it is just to myself.
But how does being those two things mean I acted like a MAN!?!
Why is being driven and competitive supposedly masculine?!?
I must say, I’m pretty sure it’s not since I’ve been this way for like….EVER.
And I’m also pretty sure I’m female…yep…I checked…I’m female.
Still thinking back on the incident, I’m completely at a loss for how to respond.
All I can do is think about all of the times I’ve then supposedly acted like a man.
Like when training for the VersaClimber challenges. Or the battling ropes. Or the powerlifting competition. Or college tennis. Or the kettlebell competition…
Or like during max out tests in college….
We did max out tests at certain points throughout the year to test our fitness progress.
Hang cleans were always super frustrating for me and I’d been really really working to get my max up so that I hit 100lbs.
I at least wanted to hit 95lbs and thought 100 wasn’t out of the question since I’d been able to fairly easily do 90.
But when I went up to that bar, I just couldn’t get 95lbs. My pull was good, but for some reason, I just wasn’t able to coordinate a good sink underneath it.
I was stuck at 90lbs, which was super easy and only made it more frustrating that those 5 pounds made the lift completely impossible.
And so what did I do because I couldn’t hit my goal?
There are very few things that will make me cry in public.
Serious injury might do it.
Someone dying might do it.
But well…failing at hitting my goal will ALWAYS do it.
Because I’m driven and competitive.
Failing at hitting a personal goal even if no one around me cares about it will 100% of the time make me cry.
It did when I missed that hang clean.
It did when I missed my goal at the KB competition.
And what about that makes me a man? Is it the involuntary crying? Is it the fact that I care about my goals enough to put everything I’ve got into them? Is it the fact that I want to succeed?
I mean seriously…explain it to me…because I sure as heck don’t get it.
There are just certain feats of fitness that we can’t seem to accomplish on our own.
There are just certain tasks that seem to always thwart our best attempts.
But sometimes just a little friendly competition and support can get us there.
Sometimes you don’t realize you can lift more, run further or push faster until someone else tells you that you can or “forces” you to.
It isn’t that you didn’t believe you could it, it’s just that sometimes a little extra push from someone else encourages you to try just a little more than you did before.
While so many people, women especially, shy away from a little friendly competition, competition may be the extra SUPPORT they need to help them reach their goals.
When I work out with a friend, I don’t want to be the person that drags or slows down the workout. If we are running, I don’t want to be the person that says, “Let’s stop.” I want to make sure that no matter what, I go as far and as fast as we can
I don’t want to let the other person down.
If my workout partner can lift more or do more reps, I always push myself to keep up with them as much as I can.
And sometimes I can’t keep up, BUT I know that I’ve pushed harder TRYING to keep up than I would have on my own.
It isn’t about “beating” the other person. It is about the support of having someone else battling right next to you. It is about the competition to push just that little bit harder.
So next time you shy away from working out with your friend/family member/spouse/random person at the gym because you are worried that they are more fit/stronger/faster than you, DON’T (ok…maybe you can shy away from the random person at the gym…but only maybe…).
Who cares if you beat the other person!?! If having someone there that you are “competing” against pushes you to work harder than you would have on your own, then you won! You won because you just got fitter/stronger/faster!
So seek out a little friendly competition in your workouts. It may just be the support you need to reach your goals!
We all constantly compare ourselves to others. I know I definitely do it.
And it is good to have people who you compete with. Working out with Candy means I always push myself. It has helped me reach two personal records this week!
On Monday, we deadlifted. And we decided to try 275lbs, which would be a new personal best for each of us. I was going to attempt the weight first. Of course, I wanted to do it since it would be a new PR, but I also wanted to do it because what if Candy picked up the weight after me!?! I couldn’t let her lift more, could I!?! 😉
No I couldn’t! So that extra incentive motivated me to push to lift that 275lbs. It pushed me again to bench 120lbs on Tuesday (and I think it helped Candy hit a new PR of 130 in bench as well).
Competition can be good. And it can push you. But comparing yourself too much to others can hinder your development and make you very, very unhappy!
If you constantly compare yourself to others, you can start to focus less on success and more on not failing…which may sound like the same things, but entails two totally different attitudes. If you are always trying not to fail, you have a negative outlook. You are too worried about “winning” and not focused enough on development. Working toward success on the other hand is positive. It means you enjoy working toward a goal as well as accomplishing it.
Also, everyone is TOTALLY DIFFERENT! You simply can’t compare yourself to anyone else and their successes because they have different strengths and weaknesses than you do!
So let competition motivate you, but don’t let it consume you! Set your own personal records and work your butt off to achieve them!