Competition Makes You Work Harder

Some people thrive on it while others dread competition. Whether you like to dislike one-on-one athletic challenges, a study published in the journalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise examined the effect head to head competition had on the performance of recreational cyclists.

Researchers had 14 subjects complete a 2000 meter time trial before racing against a computer generated competitor in another 2000 meter time trial. The ‘competitor’ in this case was actually the subject’s previous performance. On average, performance in head to head competition was about 4 seconds faster over the 2000 meter course.

True Strength Moment: This study shows how motivating a little competition can be with a unique take on beating a personal best. It turns out that we all have an anaerobic energy reserve which can be tapped into when conditions are right. Staying out front during a friendly competition is one way to create such a condition.