It’s that time of the day again: the clock finally beeps that your eight minutes of torture are up; you slam the barbell down, sweat raining into your eyes and blurring your vision; and you stumble to the whiteboard. Trying to regain your breath, you do some preliminary analysis: Well, Mike finished 30 seconds faster than me, but then again he didn’t do the Rx weights. Damn, Taylor beat my time! But did she really? I mean, we all know how she “counts.”
The whiteboard is a central part of the CrossFit experience. Whether your box uses a traditional whiteboard with dry erase markers or the fancy virtual ones that chart your progress, it’s been ingrained in you from day one that you record your scores after every workout. It’s probably second nature for you to check the clock as soon as you drop your last snatch to make sure you catch your time, down to the second, so you can get your score on the board and see how you did compared to everyone else.
So you use the whiteboard daily, but do you ever stop to think about what it’s really there for? Here are five misconceptions about the CrossFit whiteboard and some suggestions for how you should really be looking at it.
1. The whiteboard is there so I can compare myself to everyone else.
What is it about CrossFit that makes it so different from other workout programs? Is it the goofy gear you get to wear or the fact that you now have an extensive collection of selfies taken with barbells in the background? I guess it is for some people. But if you ask most people what they love so much about the CrossFit atmosphere, they’ll probably tell you it’s the awesome sense of camaraderie they get to bask in every time they walk in the door. CrossFit is as much about the community of like-minded people you get to interact with as it is about being the fittest on earth, or whatever. So the notion that the whiteboard exists mainly for you to compare yourself to the other athletes is a little contradictory.
2. I thought I was counting right, but now that I see Timmy’s score I obviously miscalculated. I’ll just say I did the same reps as he did.
Grrr. Stop doing this immediately. Quit using your “inability to count right” to justify cheating. You counted right. For whatever reason, Timmy got more reps. So be it. Be honest with yourself and your fellow athletes and put up your real score. Nobody likes a cheater, and sooner or later — whether it be in competition or just being called out in a WOD —y our buddies are going to realize what you’re up to. It’s much better to be honest than to be embarrassed when competition time comes and everyone is shocked that you couldn’t really do 140 burpees in seven minutes. Be real.
3. Sally did Rx weight, so obviously that means I have to too.
Obviously nothing. Sally might have 30 pounds on you, or she might have started training two years before you’d even heard of CrossFit. Disregard Sally and her superhuman abilities for a minute and focus on you. Are you ready to do the weight or the movement Rx? If you’re on the fence, the best thing you can do is consult your coach. But remember he probably has 100 other athletes so don’t just run up and go, “How much should I lift?” Bring him your most recent numbers for that specific lift or movement and let him know what you’ve done in the past, and go from there. Whatever you do, do it with the confidence that it’s a choice you made based on your abilities. Don’t worry about the choices others made to suit their fitness goals. You don’t need other people’s whiteboard victories to dictate your decisions.
4. Last time we did back squats I did MORE than I did this time! I’m obviously a failure and am losing all my gains.
Oh, please. The whiteboard is an inanimate thing. It can’t judge whether or not you’re getting better — only you can do that. Maybe the last time you did back squats you had eaten perfectly all day, no cheats, plenty of fats and good carbs to help give you the explosive power to crank out some heavy back squats, but this time you had a rough day at work, got stuck in traffic, got to CrossFit five minutes late and were running on coffee and a protein bar from four hours ago. The whiteboard doesn’t know any of that, so all it’s going to show you is you lifted less this time. Quit being so hard on yourself. Everyone has the occasional day of complete Crap in the Box. Don’t completely disregard it —remember what happened that day and try to avoid those mistakes in the future — but don’t beat yourself up over it either. You’ll have another chance to back squat weight that would put the Hulk to shame.
5. I have something to prove and I’m going to use the whiteboard to do that.
No you’re not. Prove yourself out there on the floor. Prove yourself in the final moments of a crushing WOD, as the sweat pours from every crevice of your exhausted body, in the moment when it would be so much easier to quit or to get hit by a car or something.
Prove it in the real, tangible progress you make every day that you throw everything you’ve got into being the best athlete you can be. That’s what shows, at the end of the day. After you’ve done that, the number you write on the board is practically irrelevant.
This article originally appeared on http://www.tabatatimes.com/