Yes, it’s true. This morning as I bench pressed the most I have since my shoulder made a noise you’d expect of Rice Krispies bathing in milk about six years ago I looked to my right and saw a woman about half my weight benching more than me. This isn’t intended to be sexist, but someone half my size–woman or man–shouldn’t be able to outlift me. At least, that’s what I’ve always thought.
Six years ago, I would have taken this as a challenge and pushed myself beyond my limits. After all, that’s how I hurt myself in the first place and spent several years in pain, put on 80 lbs. and fell into a fat hole only Wii Fit could pull me out of. (Nintendo, contact me—I could be a Wii Fit spokesperson. For real.) But instead of feeling like the lesser man, I just kept on benching, knowing that I need to build my strength up before I can outlift anyone–even this little lady.
Overdoing it when working out can be a problem. We see someone else do something and think we can, too, until we try and fail but, more importantly, put ourselves in danger of injury. I’ve had all too many moments at the gym where I’ve seen someone lift more, run faster or do more reps, and my competitive spirit automatically kicks in, causing a little voice that sounds like a mash up of 50 Cent and “Predator” to tell me, “Don’t be a pussy.”
What I’ve learned though is that little voice can motivate me just as easily as it can demotivate–or injure–me, and instead of beating myself up, I should focus on what weight seems right for me and gradually work my way up. So when working out, know your limits, take it there, but be careful. You don’t want to end up like this guy.