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.
The second RISE ABOVE Anniversary Party was truly a wonderful occasion celebrating how much our members and the gym itself has grown in the last year. It was a day of thanks to my family, friends, and dedicated gym goers for their ongoing support in allowing me to build a gym and career based around what I enjoy most in life.
This year’s Anniversary Party was much like the last one only BIGGER and BETTER. We had professional chef Javier Montano supply us with a huge variety of healthy and delicious food. There were more people interested in competing in the Strongman Competition so this year we made it a team competition. There were four teams representing different groups of people; Firefighters, Police officers, Trainers, and the Evening Crew. Each team consisted of at least four people and there had to be at least one female on each team.
The Strongman Competition consisted of three events including: Double kettlbell deadlifts for total number of repetitions (40kgs males, 20kgs females), a timed ten-lap Prowler race, and a team medley consisting of 20 pull ups, tire flip, 20 keg (male) or sandbag (female) press, walking lunges, and a sled drag where each person did one event within the medley to combine for the best overall team time.
Kristen from the firefighter team gives a recap of what the day was like for her as a competitor:
“This past weekend I attended the Rise Above Anniversary Party 2.0 and had a blast! For most people a party consists of food, good company and then more food. This party was not as traditional, but then again, nothing at Rise Above is! I competed on the Firefighters team of 5, in the fitness challenge. Once again Doug pushed us to our max by challenging us to three events and having us compete against other teams, including the Cops! Before any food was served, we enjoyed the company of our legs screaming and our hearts pumping out of our chest after kettlebell deadlifts and pushing the Prowler! The competition ended with a great medley of events and a cheering supportive crowd. After the competition we enjoyed a great feast of yummy food! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate! Congrats and thanks to Rise Above!”
Here is a video to give you a feel for what it was like:
Each team participated to their fullest potential and the contest was tight. When the smoked cleared and the points were tallied, there was a tie between the Police and Firefighter groups. Before we could do a tiebreaker event everyone had already started eating and drinking so the event ended there. All of the highlight pictures can be seen in the news and events page on the site as well as on the facebook fan page.
I also wanted to thank Logan Christopher from Legendary Strength for competing in Rise Above’s Strong Man Competition for the second year in a row. After a grueling competition, Logan once again found enough energy to put on a show for the crowd with some Old Time Strongman Feats of Strength.
Logan even demonstrated some incredible kettlebell juggling tricks per everyone’s request.
Logan is a great guy and a wealth of knowledge; if you haven’t already, please check out his Legendary Strength Website. He even took the time to write his own review of the Rise Above Strongman Competition on his blog here.
This was a truly special day for me and I thank all who came out to compete, eat and support the gym. In the spirit of thanks I want to acknowledge the people who have done a ton of work for me behind the scenes. A special thanks must go out to AJ for helping out around the gym with training and to Deb who is the creative genius behind the design and execution of all of the posters, fliers and online work that goes into the business. I also want to thank my sister Nicole for helping me with the articles for the blog, for taking great picture of the events and for kicking my butt during our kettlebell training.
Lastly I would like to thank all of you who subscribe to the email list. I greatly appreciate you sticking with me as I try the best I can to provide you with simple and honest training and nutritional insights. I would never have imagined that I would have the online following like I do and without your support my career would only be an empty shell of what it currently is. I hope to have all of you come by the gym to visit or compete one day.
Until then, Thanks and Stay Strong.
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