Should You Compete?
by Erik Castiglione
You should compete! Alright, now that we know the answer (did you have any doubt?), here are several reasons why you should compete:
First, if you have an upcoming competition, it focuses your training. EVERYONE has days where they don’t feel like training. If you train in the early AM, it can be tempting to roll over and go back to sleep. If you train at lunch, maybe you’re tempted to spend your hour at a restaurant rather than trek to the gym. And if you’ve had a long day at work, maybe you just feel like going home rather than training. It is a mental battle to overcome these nefarious thoughts and train. However, if you have a competition looming, you will be less likely to make an excuse and skip if you want to do well. NOTE: Doing well means performing to best of your abilities, it does not necessarily mean winning.
This rings even truer if you pay to participate in said competition. None of us like to waste money, even if it’s $20. For something like the CrossFit Open, you may argue that we’re doing the workouts anyway, so why bother paying to do it? Well, besides getting access to the international leaderboard, where you can see how you compare to the rest of the world (yes, CrossFit is MUCH bigger than what goes on here at CFR), it commits you to the Open. You WILL complete all 5 workouts within the designated time, so that you don’t waste money. These workouts are challenging, and by paying, you not just mentally, but also financially committing to testing yourself. This is a good thing.
This brings us to reason two: in competition, you are able to test yourself. Yes, we can push hard in training, but the environment isn’t the same. You’ll discover that with the adrenaline boost that comes with a crowd cheering you on, you are capable of things that you never thought possible. Never done a 65lb thruster? I witnessed a woman do her first, followed by 71 more. I’ve also seen people get their first muscle ups, first pull-ups, and a bunch of other crazy PRs. Why? Because they embraced the challenge, went in with nothing to lose, and HAD FUN. You can too with the Open this year.
In addition to testing your abilities, you’ll be able to check the integrity of your movement standards. In a regular WOD, are you always 100% accurate in your rep count? Do you occasionally lose track of what rep you were on? Did you count that last wallball even though it didn’t make contact with the wall? Did you come to a full lockout in that handstand push-up? In training, it’s natural to get a little lazy when it comes to movement standards and rep count. We try not to, but it happens. If you have someone counting and judging your reps, you can’t get away with this. It’s good to be held accountable from time to time (no bro reps!).
Courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.
Finally, by competing, you learn how to handle pressure. If you currently thrive under pressure, great! Competition can give you an opportunity to practice this skill. If you buckle under pressure, competition can help you overcome this and teach you to thrive under pressure. This is a skill that has tremendous carryover to the rest of your life.
Now that you know the benefits of competing, get out there and sign up for the Open! For my Relentless Family, we are obviously CrossFit Relentless for the affiliate, and Relentless Nation for the team. Here’s the link: Get it done!