When it comes to fitness, there are a lot of almost 44-year-old men in the world that are stronger, more enduring, have better mobility, and are simply more talented than I will ever be. Ever. Period.
The notion that you can be whatever you want to be as long as you want it bad enough is simply not true for me. I never had what it took to become an Olympic Weightlifter or an elite CrossFit Athlete. Not to mention that I found the sport in my late 20s.
Sure I’ve trained CrossFit for the last 12+ years, and I’ve become fairly decent at it, but did I ever have a chance at being the best in my age group? The answer is a definitive N-O.
I didn’t always have this mindset though; I thought that if I trained smarter, hard enough, slept 8-9 hours a night, and was rigid with my diet that it would it all come together. But in the process, I discovered that I’m not super durable, react poorly to stress, am a terrible sleeper, and to maintain 10-12% body fat required me literally overtrain, undereat, and miss out on a lot of good memories. It simply wasn’t worth it….at least this was my experience.
With this being said, I still want to be the best version of myself that I can be. Whether it’s CrossFit or anything else, my personal goal is to be better than yesterday. It’s not always in the physical sense, but I find ways to improve my physical self–whether this be my pacing, the quality of my reps, how I scale the workouts, and just about anything that keeps me plugging along. This includes reading, associating with like-minded individuals, and not taking myself too seriously.
It’s no longer a me vs them mindset; it’s now me vs me. I no longer compare my weights or times to anyone else in the room. This often sucks the joy out of any experience.
If last Monday I didn’t push myself on my Front Squat, you better be certain I’m going to push myself a little more this week. Or, if I only got to the gym 9 times last month, my new goal is to make it 10 days this month or even onto the Commitment Club email. If I ate like crap all weekend and had a food hangover for 2 days, well I’m going to make a commitment to clean it up this week. I may even get an accountability buddy.
The moral of the story here is that we naturally compare ourselves to our peers, but in fitness, adopting the right mindset is the key to personal and physical growth. YOU are your own yardstick.