Does Measurability Artificially Induce Motivation of Non-Competitive Athletes?

Oftentimes as a coach, I find myself making sure that I program workouts with the incentive to work hard.


Oftentimes as a coach, I find myself making sure that I program workouts with the incentive to work hard. Movements and workout structure tend to be easy to measure and guarantee a true leaderboard-like outcome.

As I found myself leaning toward this, I wondered why. And I think the answer speaks to an incredible power within the observable, repeatable, testable nature of CrossFit, especially for non-competitive athletes.


This is crucial for 99.99 percent of CrossFitters because the measurable nature of CrossFit can inject anyone with the drive and passion of a competitive athlete. Think about it. A basketball player in high school or college does his push-ups and sit-ups hard not because he’s going to get a good score, but because he wants to win and get to the next level. There are many fewer observable, repeatable, testable training sessions going on in team-sport weightrooms because there is a built-in understanding that those men and women are governed by their performance in their sport.

Imagine a CrossFit experience at a gym with no clock and vague movement standards. I’d like to believe that intensity, results and motivation would all plummet. Competition breeds progress, whether it’s in business or in the gym.

So, how does a 46-year-old accountant with three kids wrap his head around training with the fire of an athlete? You measure and count his reps, that’s how.

Many of you may be reading this wondering if I have some beef with this idea and that CrossFit works because it makes unmotivated people work hard. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I think this aspect of the training is brilliant and that we should exploit the power of the sustainable motivations built in to CrossFit.

Does this begin to entertain the idea, however, that there may be some great movements and training methods left on the table in CrossFit simply because we cannot measure them?


— Logan Gelbrich