Never Compare to Others in the Gym

Never ever compare yourself to others in the gym. Heck, don’t compare yourself to others in other parts of life, too! I have always had trouble with this. I’m a competitive person and also a critical person. I’m very tough on myself and expect the best. This can be a deadly combination if you let your focus stray outside yourself. It can initiate a viscous self-hate cycle where you never achieve anything you want to and always harp on yourself for doing something wrong or being weak. Don’t do this. 

Creep shot of Chris' back from last night's workout...spoiler: he's not doing a back exercise

Creep shot of Chris’ back from last night’s workout…spoiler: he’s not doing a back exercise

I typically workout with men…as in Chris and some of our friends. This makes it doubly important not to compare yourself to who you may be working out with. I’m not saying to not draw inspiration or motivation from others–that is most important! It is great to have a partner who works hard and keeps you working hard as well. However, if it comes to a point where you’re comparing your strength, body composition, or speed to that person, it can get rather unhealthy. Even past unhealthy–dangerous. If I tried to compete with Chris on any strength exercise, tried to match his squat, I’d be snapped like a twig from the weight.

Triceps shot from a recent workout

Triceps shot from a recent workout

It’s important to understand your strengths and limitations before you barge into a workout. Are you ready for that heavy weight? Are you reaching too high? You need to re-evaluate why you’re working out and what you’re working out to. Write down your goals and write a healthy, safe way to get there. Sure, I want to get back into lifting heavy, but I’m not going to jump into huge weight right away. That’s a ticket to injury. I may be comparing myself to other strong-lifters and wanting to go farther faster, but I am me, and this is where I’m at right now. I’ve taken long steps to realizing this and saying this to myself. Understand who and where you are and understand how you can go forward.

Back shots, before and after

Back shots, before and after

If I compared myself to all the expert climbers in Boulder, I’d feel absolutely down in the dumps, angry and disappointed. However, I’ve only been climbing for months compared to them. Why on Earth would I compare myself to them? If you let yourself get caught up in the emotion of envy and self-hate, you aren’t going anywhere with your fitness goals. I remember a time when several workouts have been ruined by my bad attitude of comparing to others and my mood goes to the sharks.

Leg shot from a workout a little bit ago

Leg shot from a workout a little bit ago

Learn from this. Don’t compare to others around you. Compare to yourself. What did you do yesterday? What can you do today? Challenge yourself. Work hard. Train with a purpose and never, ever give up. Stay focused on yourself to stay hungry and fit!

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19 Responses to "Never Compare to Others in the Gym"

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  1. Eva McElwain Tucci

    August 21, 2013 at 7:23 am

    excellent advice and you are perfect as you are :)

  2. Matt Lawson

    August 21, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Such a good point, it is so easy for people to compare themselves to other exterior without really understanding what is going on behind the scenes. Your physiology, lifestyle and mindset is unique and what is expressed on the outside is only part of the story.

  3. wickedhealthywashingtonian33

    August 21, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I needed this post today more than you know! The trap of comparison and self-hate have been consuming my brain lately and it’s beyond frustrating. Thank you for sharing :)

    • hungryandfit

      August 21, 2013 at 8:57 am

      Of course! We all go through it…we just gotta fight it and stay focused!

  4. Chocolate Covered Race Medals

    August 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

    This is such a good point. As a runner I ALWAYS compare myself to others. I know I’m not super fast, but have a lot of friends/family who are speedsters. It’s really hard to not get down on myself or compare myself to THEIR runs, but I know in the back of my mind there is NO good that comes from comparing. I am never going to be speedy like my brother in law (he’s an elite runner, hello 230 marathon), and that’s just fine!

  5. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves

    August 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I absolutely love this! I’ve definitely tried comparing myself to my friends and other bloggers/people at the gym who can lift more weight than me, run faster, etc. But I have learned to be proud of MY own progress and how I have pushed my limits (safely). Thanks for the reminder! :)

  6. fingerlickinnutrition

    August 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Great post!

  7. lizziefit

    August 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Love this post. There will always be some “better” but there will never be another you!
    And if you ask me, you look amazing in every pic.. Just sayin :)

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  9. midwestkite

    August 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Excellent advice!

    • hungryandfit

      August 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

      We all need it sometimes!

  10. topa

    August 25, 2013 at 11:24 am

    You’re right! Thanks for that advice! :-)

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