Exercise Comparisons

Sometimes I think it’s important to remember not to compare ourselves to other bloggers…or to other people in general.

It can be so easy to get caught in a comparison trap of any kind. I’m ashamed to admit that I have been getting caught in such a trap these past few months (actually probably more like 6 months).

One thing I have noticed is that I’ve felt pressure (which I totally put on myself) to be incredibly fit. I’ve seen all of these intense workouts that other bloggers do, sometimes for hours a day, and wondered why I can’t do it too. So I’ve pushed myself. I’ve created and completed intense workouts and posted about them to show that I too am a really fit blogger.

But you know what? That hasn’t really worked out so well. Intense workouts have a time and place, but I just can’t do them as a majority of my exercise. I’ve tried it. I’ve gotten frustrated when other people can do burpees for a full minute and here I am feeling like I’m going to die at 30 seconds. Hmmm…perhaps it’s because I also did an interval workout the day before and my body can’t handle it? No – I saw it as not being fit enough. So I continued to push myself hard to “increase my fitness”.

In actuality, I was doing too much. Instead of completing a 25 minute interval workout and calling it a day, I would add another half hour of cardio on top of that because I felt like I wasn’t getting in enough exercise. Um…hello?? Lindsay – you are not a professional athlete! You are a normal woman. There is no need to be exercising that much and with that amount of intensity. No wonder I now have bursitis in my hips and feel like crap every time I workout.


I’ve backed off a bit and started to feel slightly (key word here) better, but I definitely need to keep going because I still don’t feel up to par. While I was taking a walk the other day I realized that part of my reason for exercising too intensely was because I wanted to be seen as one of these fit bloggers. I think that in my head I was comparing myself with other bloggers and would berate myself when I couldn’t or didn’t workout with the intensity that they did.

I need to stop this. I need to exercise for me and my health. I need to be happy when I’m doing it and feel good! That is the only way that I will want to continue to have an active life. I don’t want to dread going to the gym.

I’ve loved learning about new fitness and exercise ideas through blogging, but I need to remind myself that I’m an individual and that what works for someone else is not necessarily going to work for me. Sure I can incorporate some of what they do into my own workouts, but it needs to be done on a level that is right for me and my body.

Most importantly, I need to remember that I am a unique individual and that what makes me fit is all I need to worry about!

About In Sweetness and In Health

I'm Lindsay! I'm a 23 year-old graduate student in occupational therapy. I love all things health and fitness related and this blog will document my life as I learn to really love myself, try to stop worrying so much about my body, and truly take advantage of all the sweet things that life offers us.

Posted on April 25, 2012, in About Me, Blogging, Body Image, Fitness, Health. Bookmark the permalink. 98 Comments.

  1. I do the same thing! Especially since I consider fitness such a big part of who I am and it’s technically my job. I want to do so much to know all the different techniques AND try them for myself. Or to live up to this “role” I feel sometimes of needing to be super fit and able to do these super intense things day in and day out. No bueno.

  2. I completely agree. I originally wanted to do a healthy living blog to show that I was fit too, but now I’m reminding myself that it’s about sharing ideas and supporting each other and not being the fittest blogger. And don’t worry, no worry what, you will always be better at burpees than me 🙂

  3. Amen, sista! Listen to your body because it’s the only one you’ve got!!

  4. SUCH a great post! You’re so right– every person is different and we shouldn’t compare ourselves when it comes to what works or doesn’t work for our individual lives. Sometimes I feel that pressure when I see oober hardcore workouts or extremely long runs– heck I can’t even run longer than 2 miles haha! Just gotta remind myself I’m not a runner, but I can do other stuff I should be proud of 🙂 Thanks for posting this!

    Have a great day!

  5. I’m a bit of the opposite haha … I know that I need to be pushing myself a bit more, because I like to stay in my comfort zone. But at the same time, working out is working out. I’m taking care of my heart, my bones, my muscles, etc by doing what I’m doing … I just may not be quite as “toned” as the person who pushes harder. On that same note, I’m not the person who is just going to eat protein and vegetables in order to get that super toned look. It’s completely fine if others choose to do that, but it’s just not me. I like my sweets too much. 😉

    • I think it’s good that you have that mindset though because it seems like you’re happy with where you are! I would so much rather be happy with it than always wanting something more/better! And I love my sweets too 😉

  6. I know that feeling of dreading the gym, and thats the time to sit back and think about why that is! I think all of us bloggers felt that pressure at one point, but any true fit blogger/friend would support your fitness needs and limits, so.. you do you, girl! 🙂

  7. Love this. So true. It’s something that I am guilty of too, and am trying to listen to what my body really needs and wants which isn’t always easy but I can’t keep getting caught up in what other people are doing. This was great, I’m glad you wrote about this<3

  8. so true! and it’s SO easy to get caught up especially in the blogging world. proud of you for catching yourself and doing what’s right for you!

  9. Oh yes I’ve definitely found myself in the comparison trap in real life and in the blog world. It’s hard because blogs are so motivating and inspirational but I think there’s a fine line that’s hard to decipher between the good motivational and what’s really right for you to be doing exercise wise.

  10. Oh girl, I totally understand this feeling! When I first started blogging I desperately wanted to fit in and be accepted into the already established blogging community. I thought this meant eating perfect and working out like crazy. The truth is though that is just not me! I am not a super athlete and I work out only a quarter of what other bloggers do. I also don’t eat perfect and love a hamburger and fries every once in a while with a milkshake to wash it down, and tgat’s okay! I enjoy blogging a lot more now that I only try and be myself and don’t make excuses for who I am in the blogging community. I am just me and if people want to still read my blog, great! If not though, they is okay too! 🙂

    • Yes I agree- blogging is so much more enjoyable when I’m just being myself! I’m glad you understand where I’m coming from 🙂

  11. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    Now it’s my turn– YEY! I love you, I love you, I love you!!! This is SUCH an important topic to address, and think that every blogger should read. I fell into that trap for a short amount of time, but strangely I think I did it more with food rather than fitness. I wanted to be healthy and in shape, but was practically starving myself to do so!!

    Thank you for being so honest, and congratulations again for even recognizing the issue and taking the steps to improve your situation. WHY do we try so hard to be something we aren’t again?!

    • Love you too!! Yea, I feel into the fitness trap and you into the food one…why DO we do this?? Good question! But I’m so glad that we’ve recognized it and can start working toward improving it :D.

  12. This is a great post and reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other people in terms of exercise or blogging or whatever. It’s important to pull back and remember why we are doing the things we are doing, what are intentions are. As you say, everyone is a unique individual and will need different things to make them happy and fulfilled.

  13. so, so true. it’s so important to keep in mind that “fit” has a completely different definition for every individual. our bodies were made to be different!

  14. You are completely on the money here. Do it for yourself and don’t compare with anyone! It’s all about being healthy, and that includes the soul. If you feel down on yourself (and you shouldn’t!) because of what others are doing–lose that baggage!

  15. This makes my day. I was just so upset this morning because I slept through my alarm this morning and didn’t get to work out because I need sleep. I’m trying to count calorie and lose weight and all I read are health blogs where it seems people only eat a little and always have time to cook healthy things and workout lots. I work fulltime and go to school parttime and I’m feeling overwhelmed…let alone feeling guilty if I don’t get to get an intense workout every day! but hey, I used to hardly ever workout or think about nutrition so just doing what I do now is an accomplishment!

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Aw I’m so glad I was able to help you out this morning!! I’ve definitely been there too. Sleep is SO important. Your body is thanking you 🙂

  16. Oh goodness do I love this post Lindsay! Falling into any sort of comparison trap is always a recipe for disaster… no matter what it is! With the looks, well that is obvious as we will never feel good about ourselves if we are always trying to look like someone else, or are envious constantly. And then with exercising… well the same kind of guilty feelings and frustrations come out of this as well. We will constantly feel poop about ourselves if we compare, and then our efforts are never good enough! Thank you for being honest about this!

    • Thanks Tessa! Feeling bad about ourselves is no good, especially when it’s because of things that we are doing and thinking about!

  17. I know exactly how you feel, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m dreading every workout. I don’t want to do it! I’m trying to find a way to scale back right now and figure things out, it’s just too much. I’m not a personal trainer or an athlete, I’m a law student!

  18. amen girl! i’m so glad you recognized this and that you’re listening to your body! 🙂 proud of you! xoxo

  19. So great!! Loved this message, Linds! The comparison game [in any aspect of life] is simply a waste of time and mental energy. It serves us no good!

  20. I can definitely relate! Especially when I see/read about running. Running is something I have always wanted to do and I have tried to force myself hoping that I would love it, and I’m finally letting go because I have found other forms of exercise I actually LOVE doing so it seems silly to try and make myself try to love something that I dont. Not to say I wont keep trying to run, but its not a priority anymore!

    And I love this post! Fit has such a different meaning (and it should!) for everyone 🙂

  21. I am in total agreement! I have had an intenral struggle for so long to get my body where I think it should be- like other fit ladies in blogs I read, like the women in magazines, models, etc. All I end up doing is making myself physically and mentally exhausted. Its a struggle I work on everyday to overcome- to appreciate the unique and only body I have- a womans body, healthy and fit!- and to not compare myself to others that have completely different needs than my own. Great post 🙂

  22. Thanks for being so real. It’s a difficult cycle to get caught up in but everyone has done it in one way or another. I even find myself peeking at the resistance level on the person at the elliptical next to me! Competition can be motivating and sometimes it’s good to push hard, but everyone’s body is different and has different needs. This is a great reminder to listen to your body and your heart!

  23. Great post! I totally agree. EVERYONE is different. For reals! There are some things I can not do, and I have had to just be okay with that. There are also some things I don’t even WANT to do that other bloggers do, and that is okay too. Listening to our bodies is SO important, and it can be tricky when we’re bombarded with so many messages all over!

    Awesome job listening up–that’s so great that you noticed what works and what doesn’t work for you!

  24. I FEEL THE EXACT SAME WAY!! I read all of these ‘healthy living blogs’ to motivate me and keep me in line, but then sometimes they make me feel crappy cause I can’t go to crossfit 5x a week and run a sub 8 minute mile. I am frustrated because I LOVE reading blogs and learning about people’s heath and fitness journeys, but I hate how fitness is becoming SOOOO ‘mainstream’. Yes I love working out, yes I like being fit, and yes I love hearing about other peoples workouts… but I think that all of the healthy living blogs has set a workout standard that is completely unattainable to some people. I need days where I zone out on the elliptical or go for an easy run, but I hate that I feel pressure to do intense butt busting workouts every day.

    I know this is just me comparing myself to others, but it really makes me feel crappy sometimes. Thanks for writing this post. I really needed to hear this from someone else too.

    PS. I still love all healthy living blogs and will still keep reading them.. I think I need to remind myself to keep my own routines and not compare myself to other people who rely on writing about their workouts for income.

    Rant done. Over and out. 😛

  25. This is such a great post. I can definitely feel that way, especially when I see all these people waking up at 5 am for workouts. I just can’t do it! I’ve tried, but as an early elementary teacher, I need my sleep. Some afternoons I just want to come home and spend time with my hubby and pup, and I’ve had to stop analyzing myself the next day, thinking some change happened overnight because of one missed workout. Life is more than that, I want to enjoy mine – not covet someone else’s or feel bad in the process.

  26. Oh, and PS: I will always hate burpees. Even 10 sounds like torture to me.

  27. You’re so wise to know your limits. There’s always a pang of guilt in my head when I say that I’ve done as much as my body is capable of, almost as if it’s still not good enough. But if you kow what you’re capapble of doing without hurting yourself, you’re doing more for your body than continuing to workout. Good for you!

  28. AMEN! I’ve totally fallen into this trap, and still do sometimes, to be honest. It’s hard not to when we’re surrounded by such fab fit bloggers all around us. BUT like you said, we’re all on our own paths here, at different (very fit) fitness levels and comparisons are just unhealthy, bottom line. I’m glad you bring it up as I know a lot of us are clearly in the same boat and struggle with it too!

  29. way to recognize this linz! it’s hard. trust me, i am not even working out and i am group fitness instructor. But you learn so much more about your TRUE self. about what really counts, it’s being healthy mentally and physically!

    • I admire you Linds! I’m sure your body is loving the break and is using it’s energy to work on healing itself!

  30. Linds, you are incredibly fit! We both know that. 🙂 But you can’t make these comparisons. You are wonderful just as you are, so no need to be someone else. Just be you. Do what works for you, and most importantly, stay healthy!!! XOXO

  31. Thanks for opening up Lindsay! I definitely agree though, I think EVERYONE has the tendency to compare themselves to other people. No matter what it is, with fitness, food, looks, etc. We all need to remember that not every person is the same. Everyone has different needs, abilities, and looks. It doesn’t make them less or more of a person! Focusing on being the best YOU is what really matters. You got this girl! 🙂

  32. I can relate to this so much!! I admit I find myself comparing my fitness level to the level I see on healthy living blogs, too. It’s a horrible habit and you made so many good points in this post about doing what’s best for yourself, or for me doing what’s best for myself! We’re always learning!

  33. Such a great post. Thanks for sharing.

    It’s easy to get swept up in the comparison track and I think it’s normal! We’re trying to normalize with other fitness enthusiasts, and the easiest way to do that is often to compare our workouts (frequency, intensity, type).

    Reading other fitness blogs inspires me to work harder, but I haven’t come to the point of comparison. I think “okay, that’s something xxx is doing, maybe I’ll give it a shot?” and sometimes it works! Other times (like swimming — which is NOT for me at this point in my life), it doesn’t.

    Keep up with what you’re doing–what’s true to YOU–and I promise you will continue to shine.

  34. I do the same.exact.thing Lindsay! Especially now, with having a role as a personal trainer, I sometimes feel compelled to have to live up to certain standards. It wasn’t until just this week recently, for a number of reasons, that I’ve started to back things down again. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the “superwoman” mentality, and feel like you can do it all…props to you for listening to your body. I’m sure you (and me!) will start feeling much better soon. 🙂

    • I can only imagine how being a trainer would increase those feelings! I’m sure that your body is appreciating the back off :D. We just need to remember that exercising in itself is a great thing!

  35. After having taught anywhere from 8-15 group fitness classes a week for the past 6 years, I’ve realized less is more! Too much exercise (especially intense exercise) can wreck havoc in so many ways! I’ve experienced it myself, & know first hand, the troubles it can cause (increased injury, fatigue, energy drain, HUGE appetite, etc.).

  36. This is a great, much needed post. Thank you for sharing this.

  37. Thank you for sharing this Linsday! I fall into the same trap constantly. I am always clicking on other people’s workout logs to compare who worked out more intensely! It’s such torture! It’s important to remember to listen to your body and to exercise because it makes you feel good. I’ve actually been experiencing the same issues. My hips and back are sore from all the burpees I’ve been doing–lol! I would suggest–and I should take my own advice–stop looking at others’ workout logs. Do you what makes your body happy and what works for you! And by the way–I think you workout pretty hard–you have a great body and push yourself to your limits! You have nothing to compare yourself to–and nothing to be ashamed of!

    • Great suggestion! And thank you so much! We just need to respect our bodies and trust that we know how to challenge them in the best way for us!

  38. Lindsay, you brought tears to my eyes!

    Beautiful post! You couldn’t have wrote it any better! It’s so raw and so honest! Totally from your heart. It is beautiful. Thank you. I hope a lot of people read this because it is such an important topic!

  39. Lindsay thank you so much for writing this post! This is something I can totally relate to and I’m sure SO many people can as well, especially in the blog world. When we’re all showcasing our lives and eats and workouts everyday, it’s so important to remain true to ourselves and do what works for us! I’m so happy you’ve realized this for yourself. And thank you for the reminder – I needed it. 🙂

  40. Hi Lindsay,

    I’m one of your stealth followers coming out to say hello!;) Love your blog…especially this post! Learning how to not compare is something that most women (myself included) have a hard time doing in pretty much all areas of life.

    Keep up the great posts!

  41. Lindsay this is such a great post! Thank you for coming out and saying how I’m sure a LOT of people actually feel, including myself! A lot of times I feel like gosh, I run so slow..I could NEVER do 100 burpees in a row, there’s no way I could lift x amount of pounds..then I feel like my workouts are not good enough and I’m not in shape at all!! Luckily when I express this to my boyfriend he reminds me that I’m crazy and I am indeed healthy and fit. Either way- the comparison trap sucks and is pointless so thank you for the reminder 🙂

    • That’s awesome that you have such a supportive boyfriend!! And you definitely are healthy and fit girl…we just need to remember that our own ways of being healthy and fit – while individual – are good enough!

  42. Oh man, yep I do the exact same thing as you. It is really hard not to compare yourself. Especially when healthy living is the focus on blogs, where they mainly post about exercise and food. We have to do what works for us, and only us! So great that you realized this for yourself, proud of you!!

  43. Love this post. Exercise is such an individual thing!

  44. Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction

    Great point! I do this in every aspect of life and it’s not good! I do think that it’s slightly inevitable and isn’t always a bad thing BUT it can become too much! We need to learn to do out personal best, and to be happy with it! Thanks for raising awareness, and I would certainly consider you a “fitblogger”!

  45. Hi! Just found your blog and I really enjoy it. I’m usually a passive blog reader, but I saw that you’re from Columbus (like me) and are currently in Boston (like me!) and I thought I’d say hi=] I’m also thinking about starting a blog and for some reason those coincidences sparked my interest even more haha.

    Have a great day and keep exercising for you and no one else!

  46. Great post!

    I think it’s a point that everyone needs to remember in life (how many times have we felt like our workout isn’t an intense as that person beasting the elliptical/treadmill next to us? I know I’m not the only one!), but especially in the blog world. The fact that you can do burpees for even thirty seconds is pretty amazing; you definitely are fit. Sometimes I think that exercise is more of a mind-game than anything else. As long as we move our bodies in a way that makes us feel good, well, that’s what is important. 🙂

  47. this post felt like it was coming form me.. I literally used to feel the exact same way… and it resulted in a broken foot… thank you so much for sharing this! You are not alone!

  48. You’re not alone!! What I’m trying to do instead of comparing myself is taking the time consider the strengths of all the bloggers out there or their workouts, etc. and use it as “advice” to myself. If that makes sense. 🙂 There’s a lot we can all learn from each other!

  49. Good for you, lady! I often times feel the same way about how other healthy living bloggers are able to maintain this ‘crazy’ workout routine while I can only do maybe 4-5 days a week at the gym. But honestly–I don’t want to spend all my time working out. It’s not THAT much fun and I’d rather be with friends or relaxing!

  50. GOOD for you, Lindsay. Sometimes I wonder if some bloggers are actually doing these workouts their posting…I just don’t see how with some of them – and I consider myself a very fit person!

    And I agree – our bodies def let us know. I personally can’t do two intense interval workouts in a row. And if I do happen to, I end up needing an extra day of rest or an extra easy day in there throughout the rest of the week.

  51. When I first started blogging I would fall into this trap a lot, comparing and thinking I need to be a runner since half the blog world are runners, then I realized I just need to be me! I don’t let these thoughts overtake me anymore, I just be me, do whats best for me, and do what I love!

    great pos!

    • Thanks love! And I love that you are just yourself- it definitely comes through on your blog and you’re always amazing!

  52. I love this post and can totally relate. When i first started “hopping” around other blogs and getting to know the blogger themselves, it seemed as if everyone were runners and i needed to do it to “fit” in. But i am NOT a runner, i love the weights and intense exercise – but that doesn’t work for everyone. You have to listen to your own body and spirit an do what works for you… so i say -GOOD FOR YOU – for following your body!

  53. I really needed to read this post this week!! THANK YOU!!!

  54. I want to stand up and clap. I have only been blogging a short time and still feel this crazy pressure sometimes. I have to constantly remind myself, its not a contest, no comparison necessary. Just be yourself! Thanks for posting about it, I think more of us should!!!

  55. Im a nutball but it isnt just my blog tagline it’s my life.



  56. I’m so glad you posted this. This week, especially, I’ve been feeling the same way. I watched a blogger’s workout video and got down on myself, because I can’t get through a 6 minute upper body workout without taking a second to shake my muscles out in between sets like she could. I never used to feel this way before I started reading blogs — in fact, I felt pretty good about myself. It’s so easy to compare myself, though, and I need to stop it!

  57. YES! A thousand times yes to this!

    It’s rough as a blogger because not only do we read blogs (we read about fitness and food probably), but we read twitter, facebook, we see updates on how many miles people have run and think that it is common for people to be exercising 6-7 days a week. I’ve even felt weird about taking a couple of days off from exercising and wondering what people at Dailymile (where I post my running/workouts) think.

    It’s craziness! But we need to remind ourselves, like you said, that we are all unique. Trying to be uberfit can turn into a sickness if we let it!

    Happy you are backing off and feeling a little better. Hope you can find YOUR balance! And thanks for the reminder to everyone to do the same! 🙂

  58. So true, and so good for you to recognize!! BTW, I think you are pretty fit yourself :). It’s all about health for you, and what makes you feel good. Thanks for an inspiring post.

  59. Megan @ Fiterature

    Yet again, you said what I was thinking. Thanks for not making me feel like I’m the only crazy blogger out there! Ha!

    You are right on the money….we need to be who we are. Which always ends up being better than anything we think we should be.

    You are amazing lady friend!

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