The Surprising Class You Compete In

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In a recent Shape.com poll, 81 percent of you said you occasionally or always “compete” with the person on the elliptical or treadmill next to you. No shocker—we’ve been there too. What was: More people “compete” in yoga than in CrossFit!

Spin is the class the majority of you approach with an "I'm better than you" spirit, and bootcamp comes in second, followed by yoga. Twenty-two percent of respondents see mat time as competition, compared with 16 percent who feel that way in CrossFit.

Perhaps it’s the community spirit that fans love that keeps their show-no-mercy sides under wraps? Whatever it is, be sure that competition doesn’t get the best of you. While it can boost your confidence and help you focus so you give it your all, too much could set you up for injuries or be hazardous to your emotional health.

The golden rule we live by at Shape is to always, always, always listen to your body. Part of what we love about yoga (and other similar workouts) is the non-competitive nature of it. In today's fast-paced world, it's more important than ever to slow down sometimes and remember to just be. This is often easier said than done—after all, there is always someone who's more flexible than you, has more money, or is prettier or funnier or thinner or smarter or more successful than you—and people are competitive, but there's strength in knowing and understanding your limits, and being able to say, "This is where I am now, and it's okay." You can always work up to that split or handstand—in fact, by being in class, you are.

RELATED: How to Do Handstand Pose (Yes, You!)

We know there's almost no better feeling than doing something you thought you'd never do, but half the fun is getting there, and focusing too much on the person sitting on the mat in front of you or running on the treadmill beside you only distracts from the awesome nuances of your own path. Your fitness or weight-loss journey is yours—no one else's. Why would you let someone else own it?

Tell us: Have you ever found yourself getting too competitive at the gym or in a yoga class? How has it impacted your workout? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us @Shape_Magazine!

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