Competitive or Collaborative?

I was interviewed by a news reporter recently for an article in The Columbus Dispatch about competitiveness in the gym. Read the story here.

I felt like I had a split personality as I was talking to the reporter ... because while I consider myself a collaborative person, when I am really honest with myself, I see that my true nature is, well, competitive.

So what does this mean in terms of daily fitness training?

I think it means that we should accept our true nature, but I also think that most people can benefit from a mix of competition and collaboration in fitness.

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MovNat is collaborative, but in a MovNat team-building event recently, after working collaboratively, we created some friendly competition by splitting into teams for a little tug-o-war. The group was hungry for it.

Here are some questions to ponder if you consider yourself a competitive person and struggle with that a bit (like me).

1. What is your true nature?

Don't fight your true nature; work with it. But definitely fine-tune it appropriately for the people you are with and for the situation. In terms of competing with my husband, I do that at times where it makes sense -- when it's just the two of us training and with appropriate fitness tools. We don't compete in areas that would be unsafe or there is a ridiculously large difference in our skill levels.

2. How do you use competitiveness for good?

Keep it in perspective. Be safe and progress appropriately. Listen to your body. Have fun and keep a light spirit -- a good challenge can keep you progressing, but don't let it get out of control or someone could get hurt -- when form falls apart, the competition is over.

3. When is collaborative and/or competitive appropriate?

I think collaborative and competitive work together on and off all the time. Helping each other, correcting form, reminding the other to hydrate, stretch, spot a lift ... that's collaborative. Wanna see how many Kettlebell swings we can do in a minute? That's competitive, but in the case of hubby and me, we are competing with ourselves and each is using Kettlebell weights appropriate for our individual skill level.

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4. Can you achieve good results without competition?

For sure. We do it all the time. Working together toward a goal is fun. Shouldering a log together ... one day we ran up a hill side-by-side carrying heavy rocks -- fun and challenging -- we told ourselves "this is not competitive," and it felt great to laugh and move fast. Although, I have to admit  ... I was racing him ... as I always do  ... and I can promise you ... he was racing me too.

Do you tune in to your true nature and use it for good?