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Mental Comparisons

September 23, 2010

When it comes to fitness, I know you are not supposed to compare yourself to others.

I know you are not supposed to break anything but your own personal record.

I know you are supposed to honor your own unique body and find your own compelling reasons to exercise.

Yeah, I know.

But I still wonder what other people think about while they exercise.  I can’t help but be curious about what goes through their minds while doing something that is physically difficult.   Or something that is new.  Or something that they are unsure about executing.

What, for example, does Swen think about while she plays volleyball?

What does Cami think about while she does the same ABSolution! moves I am learning?

What does Brett Favre think about while he is throwing all those brilliant interceptions?

Is everyone else thinking something wonderful and helpful while they exercise?  Is this a secret?  Why can’t I know?

Here’s how it goes for me mentally when I’m working out:


Stage 2: Okay I kinda rule.  Lookit how I just passed that 78-year-old man!

Stage 3:  *forgets she is exerting the body at all* Gets all thinky about various writing projects.  Mulls over issues with family and friends.  Listens to actual song lyrics and convinces self that they contain truth: ‘Yes!  New York IS a concrete jungle where dreams are made of!’ or ‘California Girls really ARE unforgettable!”

What do you think about during yoga session?  During the first 10 minutes of a run?  While you are swimming?  While you are taking a fitness class?   While you are biking, either on the road or up a mountain?  While you are walking your dog or grinding it out on the elliptical at the gym?

I am curious to know how others drown out the little voice that George Sheehan talks about, the voice telling you to “stop.”  What do you fill your mind up with when you exercise?

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