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Gym Life: Mine’s Bigger Than Yours

Jealousy in the gym and how to avoid it.

If you spend enough time in gyms and get to know your fellow members, you’ll come to discover that it’s much more than a building containing exercise equipment and locker rooms’it’s a real-life soap opera, complete with passion, drama and even jealousy. Jealousy is without a doubt the most damaging and disrupting emotion, for it saps motivation faster than blood pours from a severed jugular vein.

Men are jealous of guys who are better-looking and have superior physiques and who may date more and prettier women. It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking that this guy owes it all to drugs and/or genetics and to let your envy consume you. You might not even feel like training when superstud is in the gym. Women are also prone to the green-eyed monster, commiserating with each other about how Ms. Gym Queen only looks so perfect because she was born that way or because her rich husband bought her fake boobs and liposuction and allows her to train constantly while he makes all the cash. How healthy and productive can that type of thinking be? Obviously, it isn’t. As someone who’s been there, let me offer some nuggets of advice for getting off the gym jealousy train.

Focus on yourself. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter one iota what others in the gym look like, what car they drive or who they sleep with. You’re there to improve yourself, so your sole concern should be how you look and perform. Stop worrying about how you measure up to others. It’s tough, but in the end you’ll feel much better about yourself.

Avoid gossip. ‘Did you hear about. . .?’ That’s how it usually starts when someone wants to divulge some juicy gossip about a fellow member who’s getting divorced, got arrested or lost his or her job. Gossip is pure negative energy, and engaging in it almost always paints you as someone who delights in the misery of others. Don’t listen to it, don’t share it, and, if need be, stop talking to those who thrive on it. Bringing others down is a highly ineffective way to raise your own stature.

Be supportive of everybody. Instead of glaring at that perfect person who drives you insane with jealousy, try offering him or her a sincere compliment. By taking that approach, you’ll probably find that such people aren’t as stuck on themselves as you thought, and the path to a gym friendship will be open. The gym should be an environment where we all support each other’s efforts, kind of like one big team all out for the individual in victory. If you show some interest and concern for others, it will surely come back to you tenfold.

Jealousy is a powerful emotion that’s not easy to contain. It’s something we all need to work on one day at a time. Once you get it under control, you’ll feel as if a crushing weight has been removed from your shoulders. Keep jealousy out of the gym, and your own training will be far more enjoyable and productive. IM

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