As the title implies, this article aims to help everyone stay focused on their own fitness goals and personal progress. Through my experiences as a trainer at an all women’s fitness studio, I have often observed that women tend to compare themselves to others. It is easy to become distracted when others start seeing results and your personal progress is beginning to plateau. An important point that everyone must take into consideration is that each individual’s genetic make up is different, therefore resulting in numerous varied responses to exercise.
According to W.H. Sheldon (1940) creator of somatotype and constitutional psychology, there are three main body types. Becoming aware of these body types can help individuals understand their own limits, create more realistic goals and arrive at a personal sense of satisfaction.
- Endomorph: This type constitutes wide hips and shoulder, wide front to back, increased body fat on the upper arms and thighs, and decreased agility and speed. These individuals do not possess the genetic capability to compete with others during physical activity. A realistic goal for an individual of this body type can include performing a complete push up repetition. These individuals often complain of having a hard time losing weight, and idealize a thin figure.
- Ectomorph: Members of this group have narrow shoulders, hips, chest and abs, with thin arms and legs, and small amounts of muscle and body fat. Their figures are long and slender. These are your typical endurance runner types and will usually complain of having loose skin and not enough muscle definition. Realistic progress includes increasing the amount of resistance for any strength exercise.
- Mesomorph: These individuals have broad shoulders, defined arms and legs, narrow hips and a flat front and back. This body type possesses naturally increased strength, agility and speed. Their genetic make up allows them to perform at levels others cannot. These are your “ideal” physical types, and the desired physique for most people with exercise goals. Yet, even these individuals sometimes feel they are too bulky or too muscular.
It is evident that no matter the body type, everyone always finds something to critique and change, showing that we are all subject to body insecurities. Becoming aware of your own body type and what you are personally capable of is a very important step in the process of achieving a healthy attitude towards exercise. True happiness does not come from looking around and comparing yourself to others’ accomplishments. Rather, it comes from pushing yourself to be better than you were yesterday, and gauging your progress at every step of your exercise journey.
Create your own path and your own fitness goals that are unique and realistic for you. Once you have determined your course of action, stay focused on yourself and do not look at what others are doing. Imagine that you are a drag racer and the only option is to look straight ahead all the way to the finish line.
It is common to hear about other people’s progress and wonder what they are doing that is different from your own regimen, and compare your progress to theirs. Don’t let this bother you and realize that you too will achieve your fitness goals. Keep focused and stay motivated. Remember who you are, where you are coming from and most importantly RUN YOUR OWN RACE.