Competing, testing, and training are distinct approaches to fitness, each with their own mindset and focus. It’s important to understand the differences between them in order to maximize your progress and avoid burnout.
Competing is not something we can do every day, not even with ourselves. When we compete, we are striving for perfection or trying to beat our personal best, but this level of performance is difficult to achieve on a daily basis. Most people lack the level of planning required to perform at their competition level every day, which can lead to skipping workouts and feeling discouraged when they don’t perform as well as they’d like. It’s important to recognize that competition is not the main focus of our training and that it’s okay to have off days. Instead, we should use competition as a way to validate our training and assess our progress.
Testing is a way to challenge ourselves and track our progress over time. This might involve attempting a max effort lift or completing a benchmark workout. Testing is about being better than we were before, not necessarily beating others. By setting benchmarks and tracking our progress, we can see how far we’ve come and identify areas where we need to focus our training.
Training is where we spend the bulk of our time and energy. This is where we can modify or scale our workouts to target our individual weaknesses and work towards our goals. By tailoring our workouts to produce the adaptations we need, we can make steady progress without risking injury or burnout. Training is not always glamorous or exciting, but it’s where the real progress happens. By consistently showing up and putting in the work, we can prepare ourselves for future tests and competitions.
It’s important to recognize that each of these approaches has its place in our fitness journey. While competing and testing can be motivating and fun, they should not be the primary focus of our training. By prioritizing training and taking a long-term approach to our fitness, we can make sustainable progress and avoid the pitfalls of burnout and injury.