With the summer approaching there will be many opportunities for everyone to sign up for some sort of competition. Many of us will pass up this chance because of self doubt and the fear of competing.
The most important reason for competing is that it sets a goal for you and keeps you accountable for your workouts. A couple of years ago I was watching the “Behind the Scenes” video of the 2014 CrossFit games when I heard games athlete Jeff Germond say some pretty enlightening words that have literally stuck with me ever since. (see the clip above) He says, “You need some type of physical, time-bound, goal to keep you accountable.” If you are signed up for a competition, and you miss a class, you will feel guilty. But if you are not signed up for a competition, that feeling of guilt is far less and will eventually lead to you missing another, and another.
Competitions of all kinds are a lot of fun. Yes, they can be nerve-racking, even scary at first and depending on the workout (or race) they could hurt a little. But wasn’t your first CrossFit class? Stepping out of your comfort zone and getting in the mix of competition is one of the best ways to break through plateaus.
Competition, especially CrossFit, is encouraging. Over the six years I have been doing CrossFit I have never heard anyone yell, “you suck, why are you here!?” No matter what your skill level, there is a competition for you where there will be people cheering you on and helping you through each workout.
I remember my first CrossFit competition like it was yesterday. I finished in last place. I had only been CrossFitting for a couple of months and I had never actually been to a CrossFit gym before. I signed up for the RX division which had a max Clean & Jerk, Muscle Ups and Double Unders in it. These were all things I was still learning how to do. On every workout I finished near the bottom. I had one of the lower Clean & Jerks, I had to do singles on Muscle Ups and I was just staring at the rings. On the Double Unders I had to do a single in between each double under because I had not learned how to string them together yet. But everyone was super encouraging and although I struggled the most, I received just as many cheers are anyone else, and I fell in love with CrossFit that day. Every day after that I worked hard to make sure I was better the next time I competed and it has paid off.
Competitions will help you learn a lot about yourself. You will learn to prepare. Whether it is your food, recovery, mental or physical state, you will learn how to approach a day of competition. You may find that you are a game day type of person. For example, lets say you have been training for a 5k for three months and your best 5k is 26:00. But on the day of the race you run 23:00. There is no better feeling than a PR on game day.
Competitions are good for self-evaluation. Many of us enjoy looking at the white board everyday to see how we fared against our peers, but a competition will allow you to see how you compare to other CrossFitters from different gyms around town. Being a big fish in a little pond will only get you so far.
Competitions are fun and will help you far more than you can imagine. Here is a site that you can find a lot of competitions as they are posted. When you see one that you like, go for it. Let your friends, family and your coaches know when and where it is so they can all be there to support you!