By: Coach Marianne
To “compete” means “to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective (such as position, profit, or a prize)” (Merriam-Webster). Maybe you haven’t competed in high level or varsity sports since you were a kid, and doing a CrossFit competition would be reigniting that fire for you. Or maybe you’ve never competed in high level sports ever before in your life and doing a CrossFit competition would be your first encounter with such an experience. While competition may seem intimidating at first, I think everyone should compete in CrossFit at least once! Here are five reasons why.
To push yourself. Of course you will give it your all physically, but here I mean mentally. The battle between the ears is arguably the toughest one. Signing up for a competition is a little different than coming to daily class and working out, because now you are putting yourself out there. Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard! It’s daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. And you could probably think of a thousand other things you’d rather do instead. But, there’s merit in doing something that scares you. Setting a goal for yourself and showing up to accomplish it is incredibly empowering. “I really regretted doing that CrossFit competition,“ said no one, ever.
You will discover how your body works under pressure. Competition puts our body into a sympathetic state - the automatic part of our nervous system that sets us up for fight, flight or freeze. That means there’s a ton of extra adrenaline pumping through our veins. It is very likely that you will move faster and lift heavier in competition. PRs are almost inevitable! If the biggest set of pullups you’ve ever done unbroken in a class was 8, in competition you might do 10, or 12, or more. Or say you are competing with a partner or team and you have 30 hang power cleans to do, but it must be split evenly. If you’ve only ever been able to do 10 in a row, you might surprise yourself and get that set of 15 done unbroken because you know your teammates are counting on you to perform. It’s wonderfully rewarding to put your training to the test once in a while.
You will be inspired. There are athletes of all ages and abilities at local CrossFit competitions. You might see someone smaller than you lifting more than you, or someone bigger than you or older than you cycling reps faster than you. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. No matter where we currently are on our CrossFit journey, we all have movements or lifts we could improve. You will leave as motivated as ever, with a new appreciation for the sport and a fresh approach to your training when you get back to your gym. And who knows... maybe you will even be the one inspiring someone else?
For the biggest daily dose of camaraderie and community that can be packed into one venue. The atmosphere at a CrossFit competition is electric. The support can be felt so strongly, and not just from your teammates or the friends you showed up with! Gym lines are blurred. Spectators, judges, and fellow competitors all rally for everyone, no matter which affiliate you belong to. Plus, CrossFit is unique because the athletes that finish last usually get the loudest cheers. Everyone wants you to do well and you will sense the encouragement from all around you, whether you are leading your heat or not. In what sport would you ever experience that?
Because it’s FUN! It’s fun to have a special day to prepare for. It’s fun to have a target for your training for a little while. It’s fun to head out to an event with your gym friends to represent and show everyone what you’ve got. It’s fun to experience “working out” in a slightly different, sport-oriented way. It’s fun to have your reps counted for you by a judge so you can turn off your brain and go as hard as you can. It’s fun to push your limits and have it mean a little more. Prizes, a podium finish, bragging rights? All these things are at stake when you compete, and earning them would be a huge, well-deserved accomplishment. You laid it all out on the floor, after all. However, maybe the greatest prize of all is finishing the day proud of yourself for committing to your goal. You signed up for that competition even though it scared you and there were a thousand other things you could’ve done instead.