Ego is a huge part of exercise. It just is. Otherwise we wouldn’t care about how much weight we lift or far we run. Because of that the ego is very influential in what we accomplish with our exercise. Now, to a certain extent involving the ego in exercise is a good thing–it allows for increased drive and eventual results. Without it, we wouldn’t really care about lifting 100 pounds or running 26.2 miles without stopping. We would have nothing to brag about. And as you probably know bragging can be fun.
With all that said, taking the ego out of training, ego-less training, is an interesting idea and in my mind is a very romantic idea. Say people just worked out and never competed with each, more so, never even took note of what they had accomplished. For instance, say you are able to squat 145 pounds, now imagine doing that without any weight measurement–just your own perception of how heavy it is. See, there would still be that sense of accomplishment, but only you would know what you accomplished.
A world without mile markers or weight measurements stamped on the side of iron plates would be truly harmonious. There would no longer be the option of saying “I just lifted 225 pounds,” or “I’ve ran 100 miles this week.” Instead, we would say things like, “Wow that felt really heavy,” or “Boy, I sure have been running a lot lately.” Like I said, it’s a very romantic idea and will never universally happen, but next time you find yourself getting caught up in not setting a new PR (personal record), try doing a workout with absolutely no knowledge of what you have accomplished. See how it feels…
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