I have been an athlete my entire life and for the last 10 years I have been fortunate enough to make a living as an athlete. There have been so many learning opportunities along the way and an area that I have grown to truly appreciate is the work that takes place off the hill (or field, or floor) to be truly exceptional in one's sport or discipline. The glory of what I do is often limited to a 30 second performance in a halfpipe where a panel of 5 judges decides my fate, but all of my growth and the majority of my happiness comes from the work that I do outside of the halfpipe. This series aims to provide a little inspiration and motivation into your training goals. There will be a combinations of workout ideas and some self-reflection thrown at you. Take it or leave it. Not everything will help everyone, but I hope you will find something in here to propel you forward! This week I want to first speak about competitiveness and then I will give you a 5-exercise circuit that I have been doing this spring as base-conditioning.
For as long as I can remember people have commented on how competitive I am. Often times, it would be stated in an almost negative way, as if I'm not having fun because I'm competitive. Granted, in my younger days, I may have let my competitive nature get the best of me at times, but even today I feel that my competitiveness has been negatively stigmatized. I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think I've gotten to the bottom of it- at least to the bottom of where my competitiveness comes from and the purpose that it serves in my life. As for others' interpretations of my competitive nature, well, that's purely speculation, but I'll throw some thoughts to the wind.
There is a large spectrum of intensity in life. We can go for a walk, power walk, jog, run, sprint or we can run marathons in 6 hours or in 2 hours, and if that isn't even enough we can run ultra-marathons. You get the idea. Everyone has a different preference and a different tolerance for activity, there is no right or wrong here, no good or bad, just differences. For me, I enjoy exploring the idea of potential in everything that I do. If I'm going to run a 5K I'd like to see how fast I can do it, I love living right at the edge of what is possible for ME. I happen to carry that trait into everything that I do, from playing bocce in the backyard, to ringing out groceries at Whole Foods when I worked there, I thrive on the notion of high performance and I examine what that means even in the most mundane of tasks. It seems to make life more interesting, more enjoyable, and often more efficient. I love efficiency.
Where the issue comes into play is when others are involved in the game, event, activity, what have you... I am operating at a high level of intensity, at the reaches of my max. But it is not to try to be better, faster or stronger than the people I am with, it is to see how good, how fast and how strong I CAN BE! Sometimes this gets misinterpreted, understandably, and creates conflict. I don't think that I'm alone in this... I'm working on being okay with being called "competitive" and not feeling the need to be defensive about it, or to even explain myself . This is a part of my character, and I'm guessing, a part of yours. It is what makes us good and lets us experience life fully.
As William Faulkner says, “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
Wednesday Workouts: Competitiveness and Circuit Training
This is a series of 5 exercises that are to be performed back-to-back with speed and efficiency while maintaining proper form. Circuit training is a great opportunity to practice the aforementioned concept of trying to better than yourself by timing each round and trying to shorten the duration of the rounds every time.
Once adequately warmed up and stretched out, find a light to medium weight that allows you to complete 6 reps of each exercise back-to-back. Use the same weight for each exercise. You can use a barbell as shown in the images or dumbbells depending on your preference and weight selection. Once the round is completed, spin for 3 minutes and then repeat the circuit for a total of 4 rounds. At the end of the circuit be sure to spin for 15 minutes and don't forget to stretch and foam roll!
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