10 May Shifting Focus from Score to Core
I love to compete. I competed for many years in mostly team sports. Even on mobile slot games I’m relatively competitive. But now that my “playing days” are long over, I have been heavily focused on becoming functionally fit – maintaining strength, balance, and endurance. I’ll be honest – off the court workouts are tough and some are not as thrilling as running a fast-break, hitting a ball out of the park, or making a diving catch in center field. However, as a result of rapidly evolving performance metric technology (think MIOs, FitBits, Performance IQ, Fuse Finisher, etc.), I can now get a variety of scores for my workouts (other than the amount of sweat on my shirt). Group fitness has evolved to include not just motivation, but accountability. Being able to track your progress through quantifiable data really gets the competitive juices flowing again.
For the last year, my workouts have been primarily in a group fitness environment that incorporates a “scoreboard” that allows you to measure your fitness level relative to others in the class – in other words…compete. For me, this is motivating and does make a tough workout more fun. I have also come to a realization that competing in a random group fitness environment is humbling. Many people in these classes are ultra-fit and blow me away. To make myself feel better about this, I have to take into account that participants do have different muscle mass, different lung capacities, different leverage points, etc. so “winning” is often out of the question. As such, I now view the competitive aspect less as beating an opponent and more about self-improvement…raising my own bar.
In other words, I am trying not to get too caught-up in overcoming the “competition” in the room. I sometimes realize that when I fixate on the competition, my form is compromised – and my core is always the first to cave. As a result, my workout becomes less efficient and less effective…not a good long-term strategy for fitness success. Much more important is not losing sight of my individual goals aimed at functional fitness – endurance, strength, and balance.
To help me stay on track toward these goals, I rely on a very common business mantra that my favorite boss used to often say: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
I believe the fitness industry is taking this mantra to heart and will continue the mad dash to deliver performance metric technology in a way that will benefit and motivate fitness enthusiasts and beginners too. These technologies can be used as a management tool that provides more visibility on workout effectiveness (e.g. heart rate maximums, time in a target heart rate zone, PAI score, etc.). These measurements guide me to continually train smarter and improve performance.
Group fitness has been a great experience for camaraderie and motivation, but more importantly – for self-improvement. While I was conditioned for years to fiercely compete against others, I now realize that to steadily improve my fitness level it is more important to stay more focused on my body awareness, movements, and efficiency. The amazing part about staying more in-tune with myself is that my scores go up and I become more competitive. Measurable group exercise is really the next most exhilarating thing to making a diving catch or running through a finish line with arms high in the air. Who would have thought?