I have always held firm on the personal philosophy that everyone is able to find something physical that they enjoy for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Though I am a proponent of weight training and enjoy traditional sports, these things only represent a small percentage of activities attributing towards a healthy life.
Hiking, dancing, yoga, martial arts and those spandex filled aerobic classes are also ways one can get healthy, learn new skills and actually enjoy physical fitness.
Once you have found your favorite physical sanctuary and have practiced for a while I am a big supporter of putting yourself to the test and competing in that physical activity. In this article I will give you my top three reasons why everyone should compete.
Now I am going to use the idea of competing not solely as a game or formal setting against other opponents; competing can also be against yourself, doing something you never done before. For example, if you enjoy hiking maybe getting ready to tackle Half Dome in Yosemite is your personal competition.
Like finding your own individual outlet of physical activity, competing comes in many different forms and everyone is capable of it.
[Re]Focus your Training
Isn’t it amazing that once something is set on the calendar that our minds click into deadline mode and we being to construct a plan of attack? That summer wedding, Hawaii vacation or BIG birthday looming around the corner all have us eating more consciously and working out just a little bit more to get to our desired goal. A competition has the same effect on the psyche.
Simply training day in and day out for the sake of maintaining your personal physical and mental health is all good but the focus can shift into more of a maintenance mode rather than pushing towards a goal. When in maintenance mode the body is fairly well adapted to the stress being put upon it so the exercise effect might not be the same as it once was and you won’t get the same mental stimulation from it either which may cause boredom and give yourself some permission to skip some workouts.
A competition gets us in the gym lifting weights or in the pool swimming laps because you know that every training day might not be the best you’ve ever had and you need to get the reps, laps and miles in.
Competitions keep our training focused, continuous and more rewarding once we complete it.
We All Need a Challenge
We all hear that we should minimize stress in our lives so we live longer, feel better and are more pleasant to be around, however I find this notion to be only half true. Life is stressful at every turn and human beings need the challenge of stress to adapt and overcome obstacles which will make us stronger through our experiences.
It is not the elimination of stress rather the management of stress that all humans must learn to deal with to be truly successful. Being in a competition is a great way to be in a controlled (not life or death) stressful situation that can be overcome.
Dealing with a plan on how to achieve something you have not done, or trying to do something better than the last time is a form of stress management along with the performance itself, dealing with nerves, spectators and all the highs and lows during the competition.
Being put through that type of ringer and coming out on top replicates many of life’s challenges in a small amount of time and gives us the necessary practice of stress management which will make us more successful in every aspect of our lives.
A Feeling Unlike Any Other
You can feel good after a training session, a long run or a mile in the pool but there is something about finishing a competition that unlocks a hormonal door in our bodies and releases a special vintage of dopamine and gives us a feeling like no other.
All of the training, hard work, perseverance, and highs and lows are all rewarded with this sense of accomplishment feeling that cannot be obtained through any other avenue.
Once you reach your goal and obtain that feeling it can never be taken away from you, it is permanently etched on your life’s epitaph. It is this feeling that also drives us to keep going with our lives and take on new challenges and get better at our craft and truly experience all that life has to offer.
I encourage you to find a challenge and go for it.
For my latest kettlebell competition results check out videos below.