Exercise, solo or in a group, is a means to attain an ever expanding goal and maintaining that goal through a variety of movements. Whether the goal is to lose weight, become faster, lift more weight or to look better for you; exercise allows you to do that. But, how do you get motivated? Look no further than your friends or family.
Why is competition the best way to get fit?
Growing up with a brother only one year younger than me, I know how beneficial competition is all too well. We were always attempting to one up each other. Five more push ups, two more pull ups, beating him in a foot race or seeing who can swim across the river faster, it was constant competition. This competition extended beyond exercise and everything became like a game to us.
It is because, comparing results with others and with a group of like minded people are motivating. Think about it, when we are with friends we tend to push a little more than we do alone. It is one of the great things about friends, they push us to the limits of our comfort zone and outside of it; that is where growth happens.
It has been shown that we tend to perform better, when we have results we can compare to someone we know. It is friendly competition and a healthy way to push each other to do better. You become accountable to others and they become accountable to you. The more open your relationship, the more you can push each other to not slack off. Even using yourself as a source of competition is a way to always strive to do better, after all, you are doing this for your own reasons.
Just as important as the goal, are the prizes you are able to obtain along the way. You know the saying, "All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy". So on top of getting more fit and beating your friends, a prize or wager makes the pot all the more sweet. Every once in a while a reward gives us an extra boost and keeps our path fresh. Essentially we turn exercise into a game which motivates us beyond our goal.
How to Get Started
First, we have to find people to compete with and be accountable too. Social media is a great way to gauge who would be interested. Find people with similar goals whether it is losing weight, getting stronger, or running a marathon. People all have their preferences.
Second, make a schedule to meet up and do your preferred exercise at least weekly. This will make you and your group accountable to each other. (You'll be more inclined to not miss your group activities!) Set up a group chat and keep communicating and motivating each other.
Third, keep track of your results and share with your group! Talk a little smack when your mile run went from 10 minutes to 8 minutes. Tell them all about how you lost five pounds. Share your new personal records and that will light a fire under your group.
Finally - Keep it fun! Competition is part hard work and part fun. You have to keep it fresh and entertaining or you may fall out. Even if you do, don't fret, we all slip up. Just get back on the saddle and keep riding. With a good group you will always have people who will be glad to help you get restarted. The more interesting it is, the less likely you are to blow it off. So get out there start working and start competing!