So you’ve decided it’s time to compete. You do a few local competitions and do really well. Then you participate in the Open and lo and behold, you’ve made it to Regionals. Congratulations! Nothing has changed. Let’s not forget a few things as you become more competitive:
1. You still need a coach.
Annie Thorisdottir still has a coach who criticizes her movement quality on a daily basis. Are you better than Annie? When you are doing weightlifting and other technical skills without supervision, you learn lots of bad habits. You will continue doing those bad habits until those habits translate into injuries. The ego it takes to assume you don’t need coaching is unreasonable for an athlete. If you are complacent enough to think that you’ll improve “enough” on your own, you’re not the kind of athlete you think you are.
2. You still need a program.
Often, I see competitive athletes literally doing whatever they want at Open Gym. While CrossFit prepares you for the unknown and unknowable, you can save that for the competition floor. Train your lifts, your gymnastics and your conditioning in an actual program. Dedicate yourself to one that targets your weaknesses and strengthens your strengths, and give it time (at least a year) to measure progress. Most likely this will take the help and guidance of (surprise!) a coach, and this could even include (gasp!) doing what’s on the whiteboard at your gym.
3. You do not automatically deserve free membership.
Too often, I see CrossFit insta-celebrities or good-looking girls or CrossFit competitors seeking out free gym membership in exchange for something along the lines of promotion or representation in competition. It saddens me that this has become so popular. Your celebrity status is not worth the hours your coaches have put into honing their craft, the thoughtfulness of the programming, or the months spent saving for your equipment use. In addition, your Instagram friends are not your community. Your community is the other 100 people who are paying customers for the same things you are taking advantage of. These are the people who will support you at competition. These are also the people who you will share meals with, who will help you push your car when you run out of gas, and who will give you a couch to sleep on when you need it. This is part of CrossFit, and you do not deserve this for free more than anyone else in your gym. Consider what you are spending your money on, and maybe put down that fifth pair of Nanos.
Think about why you love to compete in CrossFit. Is it for the fame? Or is it because the CrossFit experience awakens something valuable inside of you? Resist getting caught up in the flash and focus on what matters: your growth, your development and the give-and-take of a close-knit community. This is what makes CrossFit special, and it’s your job to keep it that way.
Allison Truscheit is the owner of CrossFit Synapse in North Hollywood, California. She is also a two-time Southern California Regional competitor, who placed seventh in 2013, a nationally ranked competitor for USA Weightlifting, a CrossFit Level-1 trainer, a USAW Sports Performance coach and a YogaWorks 200-hour yoga teacher.