When Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” he probably wasn’t talking about the gym or the golf course. However, these are good words to keep in mind every time I step onto the gym floor to work out. Seeing our very youngest juniors hopping over hurdles and jumping onto stacks of plyo boxes, as if gravity doesn’t exist, is intimidating. Watching people who are in their 70s, and even 80s, pushing weighted sleds is intimidating, especially as I struggle to do two laps of butt burners.
I have to remind myself that the goal should not be to be better than anyone else in the gym. The goal is to be better than I was yesterday. To do that, I have to push through the butt burners until my muscles are strong enough to progress to harder exercises. I can’t do deadlifts with big weights until I’ve perfected my hinge pattern with a plastic pipe. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t do one lap of butt burners. Today, I can do two. If I keep working, maybe next week I will do three.
I can’t compare myself to the gravity-defying juniors or the older members who push sleds like linebackers. We all step onto that gym floor with our own set of challenges and strengths. Some have been granted tremendous upper body strength or powerful legs. I’ve got flexibility to spare thanks to a genetic disorder that also leaves me prone to injuries. So I will probably never make the record board for the biggest deadlift, and that is okay. Instead of feeling defeated because I’m not pushing a heavy sled, I can ask myself, “what can I do today to move me closer to pushing those sleds?”
There will be setbacks. I’ve had my share. Eight surgeries in eight years definitely count as setbacks. Each time, I go back to the basics, work on relearning good muscle patterns, rebuild strength. I can’t feel defeated because other names are on that record board. I can be excited on the day my muscles are strong enough to walk across the gym floor without crutches.
We have members fighting far more challenging battles than I am. We can’t all do a 42-inch single leg box jump, but we can all bring perseverance to every workout. We can be inspired instead of intimidated. We can show up, work hard, and be better than we were yesterday.
Director of Operations