Grab the best bits of being a strength athlete without ever competing!
You’ve been around this strength training game for a while. And you’ve decided you don’t ever want to compete. Bodybuilding? Nah, the tan and sparkly suit just isn’t calling you. Powerlifting? You prefer to measure your progress in the gym. Oly lifting and Strongwoman look fun, but you don’t want to focus all your training on one niche.
Kudos to you for knowing your own mind in an industry which sometimes seems obsessed with competing.
But what now? You’re in this for the long haul. Health, fitness, and training are your life. So what can you expect to learn from training, even if you don’t compete. There are plenty of ways the fitness lifestyle will enrich you as a person.
9 Valuable Lessons You Can Learn From Competitors (Without Competing)
The decision not to compete frees you from being tied to the weight on the scale, or the pinch of the calipers. It allows you to embrace the valuable and life-altering lessons of lifting. The habits, routines, and changes in behavior which will improve your body and mind.
Setting Non-Competition Goals
Competing gives a clear goal, with a timeframe and an end date. But there are still plenty of goals you can set that don’t involve the stage or platform. To identify the type of goal which will resonate with you, look at your athletic background. Are you new to lifting? Or an former competitive athlete? If you come from a non-athletic background, it’s time to find your niche. Gym-based goals will help fitness become a positive aspect of your identity, without the need for a competitive outlet. If you spent your teenage years in another sport, lifting could help scratch that competitive itch. You can devote as much time as you want to the gym, and still smash your personal goals.
Embracing The Community
Training with friends will enrich your life whether you compete or not. Regardless of your shape or size, training automatically qualifies you for a world-wide family. Wherever you go, you’ll be able to find men and women who share your love of lifting heavy things up and down. And this extends to the online fitness community, too. We all speak the same language, recognize the same values, and have similar goals. Everyone in fitness wants to feel better, look better, and perform better. The competitors might be at the sharp end of it, but you’re in the mix.
Using Your Tools Wisely
Ever noticed how competitors attack their goals step-by-step? They won’t start a prep using HIIT, carb-cycling, and dropset all at the same time. Competitors know how to choose their battles, and select the appropriate weapon. It’s a useful lesson we can all use. Whatever your personal goal is, develop a smart strategy. Don’t go in all guns blazing, and forget trying to use every bit of advice you’ve read online. Have a plan, stick to it, and make small adjustments when needed. You’ll enjoy reaching your goal – and you’ll feel healthy enough to keep going!
Building Your Own Physique
A lifetime of lifting will give you the ultimate power: the knowledge of how to build the physique YOU want. You don’t need to compete to learn that lesson. Train consistently, work to a plan, and just keep chipping away. Before long you will have built the kind of physique you want. As an aside, you’ll be stronger, with better posture. Everyday tasks will be easier. You’ll be less prone to aches and pains. These are gifts that the gym lifestyle gives us all, not just the competitors. Lifting will show you the value of building muscle, and maintaining it. You’ll learn the best training techniques and nutrition strategies for your own body. These are tools for life.
Eating Strategies For Real Life
Competitors are some of the most clued-up people in the gym when it comes to nutrition. But they can also take it a bit too far. There’s no need to be a slave to your cool-bag. You can still put your nutritional know-how to good use without counting every macro. Take your cue from competitors, and learn how to eat for fat loss, strength, or performance. Focusing on nutrition could teach you a ton: how to improve your grocery shop, choose fresh produce, and cook healthier meals and snacks. It could introduce you to veggies, cuts of meat, and seafood you’ve never tried. You’ll learn which foods make you feel great, and which aren’t worth your time or money. And if you choose to learn the art of “food prep”, you’ll save yourself a ton of money at lunchtime!
Side-Step The Weight Issue
The majority of adult women spend their lives hung-up on scale weight. Lifting might not banish the issue completely, but it will change your attitude. You’ll start to focus less on bodyweight and more on body size, shape, and composition. You will also get to understand that scale weight can fluctuate due to various random reasons. And you might even end up chasing a higher body weight than you ever thought you’d be comfortable with! Get ready to see way beyond the scale.
Understanding Your Body’s Signals
Athletic people have a different relationship with their own body. They understand how to listen to it. They’re in tune with their energy levels, and hunger signals. Most people walk through life without enjoying this deep understanding of the body’s language. You don’t have to compete to get in tune with your body. Every training session will help you appreciate what your body needs.
Ever noticed the confidence with which competitors walk around the gym? Sure, with some of them it borders on egotistical swagger. But even the humblest competitor looks like they feel at home there. It’s because they do. Training like a competitor (even when you’re not one) will give you that confidence, too. And it’s about more than walking into any gym, anywhere in the world. Training will give you amazing self-confidence. In your own abilities, in your body’s capabilities. In your strength, your power, your achievements. Lifting weights is unforgiving. You either lift it, or you don’t. Nobody else is doing the work for you. So next time you set a PR, or try a heavier weight than last week, it’s a deposit in the confidence bank. It all carries over into everyday life, making you feel stronger at work and in your relationships. Competitors can sometimes feel the need for validation from placing in a contest. You’re not a competitor, so you don’t need that. Your validation comes from turning up every day and working on your goals.
Strengthen Your Mindset
You can learn a lot from the crazy focus of competitors at your gym. Tapping into their energy will lift you way above the people who rarely make progress. See how a competitor’s mindset could transform your own training:
– having a structured, progressive training plan
– working towards a goal without distractions
– focusing on one aspect of training for a time
– eating in a way that fuels and energizes your body
– making training a valuable part of your weekly diary
– respecting your training time for the benefits it gives you
– training with pace and intensity
– not guessing or half-stepping your training
– getting serious about recovery (and sleep)