How to Feel Confident at the Gym.

Is he sexy? Sure. Should you compare yourself to him? Probably not.

With the exception of a handful of Olympians, there will always be someone faster, higher or stronger than most of us. But when it comes to the gym, many people expel a great deal of energy comparing themselves to the men and women around them.

At my gym, there’s a new member that is working hard to get into shape. Not a day passes where he doesn’t ask me how fast I run on the treadmill, or how much weight I’m able to do on a given exercise. He then pits my level of fitness against his own, and perhaps - to some extent - uses it as motivation.

But comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game that doesn’t always yield healthy results. Because of his age and health conditions, it’s unlikely that the aforementioned individual will be able to run at my 11.3 MPH treadmill pace. And if he tries - which he has - he’s likely to injure himself (though he hasn’t yet). Moreover, over time, the process can be physiologically defeating and take the wind out of any workout’s sails.

Comparing yourself to yourself, however, can be much more effective. When you hit the gym, it’s not about how much resistance or weight the man next to you is able to move - it’s about how much weight you are able to move relative to your own goals. What the people around you are doing is irrelevant - each of those individuals has a different health history, age, goals, etc. than you. What you are doing, on the other hand, is very relevant.

If you are looking to increase the amount of weight you bench press, for example, then your point of comparison is your last few chest workouts (and not the bodybuilder lifting next to you). If you’re looking to maintain muscle mass, then look no further than the mirror, your BMI and fitness history.

My point is this: Whatever your goals, use yourself (and not other people) as a reference point. It’s safer, healthier and far more effective.

Do you compare yourself to others at the gym? Why or why not?

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. It is also dangerous to mimic other people’s form. They may be well doing the exercise incorrectly.

  2. Agreed … in the case of working out, or anything in life really! As you so often say, we are uniquely beautiful in every way, and we should espouse that thought in everything we do.

  3. I’ve compared myself to others at the gym, but with the intent to find out what they’re doing to be so successful in their goals.

    Finding out their routines helps me switch up my own exercise sets to help keep from reaching a performance plateau.


  4. It’s that body/skill comparison that has kept me out of the gym. I find athletic muscled guys to be VERY attractive, but that’s usually from outside the boundaries of the gym. I feel like I’m stepping onto their “sacred ground” and I’m not worthy of being there.