Healthy Competition Equals Real Community

By: Dawn Swinney

You work hard. Maybe you’ve been coming to the gym for a few years. You come consistently and give each workout your all. You’ve seen improvements in your health and abilities inside and outside the gym. You’re proud of your hard work. Then…you look around. You see someone who maybe hasn’t been coming to the gym as long as you have or maybe isn’t as consistent as you are. Their PR is higher than yours. They beat you in workouts. You tell yourself that their muscles are bigger than yours or they’ve lost more weight. Now, you think you suck. You’re disappointed in your next PR because it “wasn’t as good as theirs”. You stop telling them good job and don’t even acknowledge them in class. Whatever relationship you might have had with them feels either awkward or nonexistent.

Most of us have dealt with something like this in some way or another. It can be tough to see the people around you improving while you’re still struggling with your double unders, hand stand push ups, snatch technique, or insert any other movement/lift that applies. Double Edge Fitness is one “founded on community”. Competition is a good thing, and a certain amount of it is almost necessary within the Welded world. However, when competition turns into comparison and ultimately affects your relationship with others, the community suffers. Each of us are all on different paths. We all have our reasons for working out at Double Edge: we want to get more fit, we’re in recovery from an injury or addiction or hurt, we love suffering, the towels are nice, we enjoy having the hour we’re here planned for us, we want to be a better husband/wife/son/daughter/person. Whatever the reason is, we all have one thing in common: we belong to the community of Double Edge. There are many other gyms in town, but we choose to be here.

When we let unhealthy comparison and competition become part of our life, we damage the relationships around us. We hurt ourselves. We’re not contributing to the community; we’re damaging it. When we stop and realize that others around us are all also struggling with something, instead of comparing our abs to theirs and getting jealous, we humanize each other. We see that we’re all just people, with highs and lows and good days and bad days. Sometimes we’re killing it in the gym and sometimes it’s a win just to walk in the doors. That’s just part of life, and each of us are individuals on individual journeys that all intersect here at the gym. That’s something to be celebrated!

Maybe you have a specific person in mind as you’re reading this; that one person that you compare yourself to and wind up feeling bad, or that you’re jealous of when they do well in a workout. I challenge each of you to not just identify who this person is, but next time you see them, find something to complement them on. I don’t mean some fake nice, “cool shoes, dude” kind of complement, but to audibly speak an actual, from-the-heart, positive thing you see in them. I promise, you’ll not only surprise them but you’ll surprise yourself at what kind of change happens when you do this…in you. It may still irritate you when they beat you, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that you helped BE the motto of the gym you’re part of? You’re helping bring the community together. You’re breaking down walls and helping bridge gaps instead of make them. No one will remember how many muscle ups you got in a row 20 years from now, but I guarantee they’ll recall how you treated them and others. Let’s be that gym that lives the motto on the walls inside Midtown and South. Let’s be remembered for that.