As we are rounding the corner on the CrossFit Open, we wanted to share some thoughts with you around the "competition factor". In our experience, the most effective way to move the dial in your fitness is through combining functional movements like running, lifting, and body weight gymnastic movements. We routinely see a measurable increase in work capacity, speed, and strength. These results get supercharged when we add the element of intensity; usually by timing workouts. We talk a lot with new athletes about finding the balance between solid technique and high intensity. In the sweet spot, we both maximize results and avoid injury.
We coach toward this balance every single day. We don't hit a bullseye every time, but overall, our averages are pretty high. Sometimes though, a new variable gets introduced like the CrossFit Open. As a coaching staff, we relinquish some of the control in dialing in workouts, loads, and movement reps for each individual athlete...particularly if that athlete is "competing". Now, lest you think that I am naysaying the Open, I am not. Every workout, athletes hit PRs or accomplish movements for the first time. Sometimes however, those accomplishments come with a price...sore shoulders from a squat snatch that was a little too heavy to perform with good form or torn hands from kipping like never before to get that bar muscle up. We cut corners on technique to gain a performance advantage. Again, for many athletes, there is a time and place for this and it is not necessarily bad.
If we treat every day as if it were a competition however, we risk a whole host of negative consequences...injury, burnout, and a failure to develop along solid progressions. When our focus shifts to competing rather than training, we even risk eroding the character that we build through meeting challenges and persevering through difficult workouts . Equally as important, we lose sight of why we are doing all of this in the first place...to be better people. The score on the whiteboard will be remembered by no one but you when it is erased in two days. At its core, CrossFit is not a competition. It is a community growing and supporting each other to become better athletes and all around people.
Keep doing what you are doing. Track your progress, log your workouts, and keep showing up. Work hard every day but keep the competition days few and far between. What matters to us is that you see what we see: You are better today for being here, for extending a warm greeting to a new face, for persevering when the going gets tough. Thanks for being part of the community.