For about a year, I was completely addicted to the classes at Orangetheory Fitness. I loved everything about it: the sprinting, the intense weight circuits, the TRX work, etc. But most of all, I loved watching my numbers go up and down on the giant monitor, and watch how they compared to the other people in the class.
I’ve always been competitive. And oh man, did Orangetheory bring out the beast within.
The inner dialogue was constant. “Shoot, Nancy is already up to 5 splat points! I have to catch up!” Or, “Holy cow, this woman next to me is sprinting so fast! I need to go FASTER!”And you know what? I’d never even said two words to either of these women. But it didn’t matter. These strangers were beating me in the subtle game of who-can-workout-harder game and it drove me nuts. But not in a bad way–just in the good way that makes you work harder.
The competitive atmosphere was almost palpable. The quick glances up at at the screen. The furtive glances to the adjacent treadmill. It was almost all women, and we all seemed to be cut from the same cloth.
And is turned out, we were. I took the 5am class twice a week, and as time went on, I started to meet some of the other women. Most of the other OTFers were women, and as I discovered, all from either New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Plus we all worked full time, most of us were moms, and we all shared a love of pushing ourselves hard and sweating like beasts before the sun came up.
But why were we all so shy about our competitive nature? Why couldn’t we use it to our advantage, and say something like, “Hey, let’s push each other today — whoever sprints faster buys the other breakfast.”
I love when one of my clients is competitive. Mainly because I know she’ll push herself hard, especially if it’s in boot camp and she’s around other competitive women. It thrills me to no end when they sprint each other on Friday mornings. Some serious wheels come out, and even a few elbows.
So ladies, let’s just let all come out of the shadows and embrace our competitive nature. I know it’s in you — I see it with the way you look at your FitBit, your Garmin, or your Apple watch. I know you know your numbers and are trying to beat your best time or highest number of steps. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Use it.
And hey, you’re always welcome to join Friday morning boot camp and jump into one of the sprint heats. But be warned: those ladies are fast and may throw a few elbows your way. But then they’ll friend you on Facebook and invite you out for a glass of wine, so it’s all good.
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