Competition is nerve wracking, scary and absolutely needs to be a part of your training.
Training in the gym is an important experience, you gain strength, power, resiliency and work towards achieving skills. All things that provide value to you in your life outside the gym, from being able to play with your kids, help your friend move or simply look better naked – all perfectly fine reasons to train. However, one of the critically different parts in the inception of CrossFit was the introduction of competition and game theory as a community around that training. Not just working out.
This doesn’t require that one must record the fastest time, highest number of repetitions in the workout of anyone else in class or perform as prescribed, not at all, rather it is establishing a reference point to compete against your old score months later. The greek motto for the Olympics is “citius, altius, fortius” meaning “faster, higher, stronger”. Not necessarily just measured against your competition, just faster, higher and stronger.
It can be easy to go into a workout and say “I’m not going to record a score today, I just want to sweat and move.” We’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s because of a stressful day outside of the gym and you just need a release. It takes the pressure off, it makes the upcoming experience more comfortable. However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Our job as Coaches is to make you uncomfortable. You simply won’t get better if you aren’t uncomfortable. That’s a fact and that’s the beauty of competing. Whether it’s a 5k race against your spouse for bragging rights, a CrossFit competition, a friendly rivalry in class or your personal performance. It doesn’t have to be as prescribed, it does need to challenge you. Want to run faster? Chase someone.
You won’t always win (I lost by 7 seconds in a recent 5k against my fiance), you will always push yourself more if there is competition on the line. You will get the most out of your valuable hour in the gym and you will be proud of your effort. You won’t always win and that’s precisely the point. Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself, sometimes you’ll discover a weakness in your training that can be improved. Always – you’ll come out a stronger person, that we can assure you. However, it only happens if you commit to compete, when you commit to be uncomfortable.
Next time, when you’ve had a tough day, get butterflies from a workout or are tempted to ask for a smiley face score. Embrace that feeling, dig in, compete – you’ll be glad you did.