It is so hard to be in a gym or a group fitness class and not compare yourself to the person next to you or be intimidated by the overachievers in the front row. Who wants to be the person holding the lightest weights? The pressure to "measure up" usually encourages people to make poor choices when it comes to their individual needs. When considering what to do in class most people use the weight of the dumbell, the depth of the lunge, the height of the kick to gauge how hard they will work. All those factors have a definite affect but many more things needs to be considered and your choice shouldn't be based on what your neighbor is doing. Other things to consider are:
- Do I have an injury I need to take care of. Your body will give you lots of feedback-Listen to it. If you have pain evaluate what you are doing.
- Did I work the same muscle group hard the day before. Have I given my body sufficient recovery time?
- Am I feeling under the weather? Are you just recovering from being ill?
- Leverage. Do I have longer levers (Long arms and Legs) that may make it hard to lift the same weight as you neighbor?
- Are you just having one of those days. Just moving is a good thing. Don't feel you have to beat yourself every day to get results.
Don't get me wrong. I am as competitive as they come but hopefully in a smart way. When working out, try to improve strength not strain and implement power without pain. You want your body to last a long time. Be an educated exerciser and make smart choices for your individual needs. When in a training situation or in a class, trainers and group exercise instructors give you guidelines but if one exercise isn't working for you, there are many alternatives that will give you the same results. Focus on quality not quantity. Your neighbor may be doing twice as many reps as you but you may be focusing on the quality of movement and not a number without form. Educated choices will build a healthier and stronger you.