COMPETITION DOES NOT DEFINE YOU
The big reveal happened Wednesday afternoon when CF HQ unveiled the first open workout of the season: a ladder of lots of burpees and increasingly challenging snatches. That’s also when the texts started to come through:
“So I can do at LEAST one rep of the first workout!!!”
“F me they ain’t fooling around this year”
“Ummmm I’m frightened!!”
“I think I should practice some snatches”
And my favorite . . .
It was like the tsunami sirens started going off and people were running for higher ground.
A small handful of our CFUM athletes were training for this competition. The majority of you who signed up did it out of guilt, peer pressure, participation, camaraderie and/or community. You were not training for this. You are JUST learning what the open is about and this is your FIRST TIME PARTICIPATING.
So why are you freaking out?
Sure, there’s a lot of pressure when your name is attached to anything. But this open has NO BEARING whatsoever on your year-round progress and training. The next five weeks and workouts DO NOT DEFINE who you are as a CrossFitter, and they certainly don’t define who you are as a person.
Case in point: Kaikaika is a brand-new CrossFitter. He showed up to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, obviously racing up the hill from work, still in his work clothes, and managed to get through the workout of sprints, burpees and deadlifts.
Can we judge what Kaikaika’s capable of based on his WOD time? No fricking way. He just had a crazy hard day at work and it’s amazing he even made it up the hill to get a workout in.
Should he judge himself based off the time in which others completed the WOD? He definitely should not. But that internal comparison goes on with all of us; for some it’s worse than others.
We have to stop putting pressure on ourselves when it comes to the “competition” of CrossFit. Every day can be a competition, every WOD, every local event, every regional event, every CF Games Open event. But it will never end. The bar is always higher, someone is always better, there are never enough hours, you are never where you should be.
Look around instead at the majority of Americans who are not leading healthy lives. You are in the small percentage of people who are, or who are working to lead a healthier life, and you’re doing it with some really cool and complex functional movements like snatches, handstand pull-ups, box jumps and pull-ups. You’re not sitting in front of a mirror doing bicep curls to look good. You’re out sweating with a group of people who are pushing you to be a better version of yourself. And that kind toughness of mind and body will translate into every area of your life.
So, yes, get a little nervous about the open. That’s healthy. But remember why we’re doing this. We do CrossFit because we are getting or staying fit. We DON’T DO IT because it is a new identity that’s going to make us happier, more successful, or more popular. Faster times, cooler shoes, shorter shorts, bigger pecks, heavier weights — it’s all just a distraction from dealing with reality. And the reality is that true satisfaction comes from within, despite all circumstances. It’s a shift in internal perspective, not external circumstances.
Try going down the other route. Where CrossFit times and scores and competitions determine how you feel about yourself. I did. It sucks.
I don’t know that I’ll ever truly conquer the battle with my ego. But I do know from years of CrossFitting that I’ve learned more frequently to leggo the ego. You’ve watched me recovering from surgery, using baby weights and walk-running the last few weeks. Talk about humbling, but hey, it’s the best I’ve got right now. You accept me, no matter what modification I do.
Similarly, we are proud of you no matter what. Your score does not equal who you are. Your work ethic and consistent training and your kindness and your attitude are all parts of who you are. We intentionally lead this way, instead of screaming at you to get a faster time or higher score, because we know that training days are just glimpses of your true potential. The accumulation, the whole, the sum, that is your potential.
A wise “sansei” of mine, my former CrossFit coach Robert Kikuchi at Raw Fitness Maui, once told a group of us, “Remember. We’re all still just working out.”
Let’s train with integrity and encouragement, while remembering that this doesn’t define us. But let’s also have fun along the way — because we’re all just working out together anyway. So, laugh at Toby’s stretching, get in some photo bombs with Snuggie and try to block Andrea while you’re running a 400. It’s good for the soul.
Good luck on the Open! We will post details about how we’re going to judge and program the WODs soon. In the meantime, if you can’t make Friday’s class, come in Thursday and contact a coach to do your burpees and snatches.
Above all — HAVE FUN!!