With the growth in popularity of CrossFit competition, too much focus is put on placing and qualifying and not enough is reserved for health and happiness. While competition can play a valuable role in a student’s CrossFit journey, choosing not to compete also can be beneficial when choosing to prioritize a student’s well-being.
Let’s compare CrossFit to another more established sport. In professional football, the goal is to win football games. In the process, a player may endure concussions, sprains or other injuries and still compete on a weekly basis. The football player accepts this as part of his job, and he understands how this sacrifices his health.
As a student of CrossFit, it’s not your job to be good at exercise or compete through injury. It’s not necessary to speed through movement and not receive the benefit of the exercise. You have the rest of your life to get good at exercising. Your health is taking a beating for an unworthy cause.
And don’t sacrifice your mental health. Neither you, your team or your gym becomes superior based on how you rank in the Open. While the culture of CrossFit breeds competition, if you are truly focused on improving, you must allow yourself to struggle without the pressure of beating other people. Students of CrossFit need muscle development, not just another beatdown. The goal of CrossFit is to relearn how to move your body and strengthen it to move better.
When we constantly police time and load, the emphasis becomes the whiteboard. If you consistently seek validation based on how much better you are than other people, you will never find satisfaction.
If you choose to compete, allow your training days at the gym to be a struggle. Focus on movement quality and mobility, and allow the competition day to be a learning experience, not an excuse to feel better (or worse) about yourself. Bring the focus back to empowerment, learning and growth — mentally and physically — and you’ll end up improving and enjoying more success in the long run.
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.