In my last post, “Constantly Varied” vs Random: Do You Know the Difference?” I talked about how constantly varied can get confused with random, often resulting in poor programming. This week’s topic is about “high intensity” workouts and why it is important to remember that there is a difference between training and competing.
High Intensity Training
Part of what sets CrossFit apart is the competition element that the whiteboard, timer and “Rx” bring to training. Having that whiteboard motivates people to push harder than they otherwise might and have fun at the same time. People who have never been competitive before often get their first taste of competition and find they love it; former athletes who may not have played in years have the opportunity to compete again; and CrossFitters looking to compete can have fun and train at the same time.
However, as a coach or athlete, one must understand that although CrossFit brings competition into everyday workouts, training is still training — the emphasis should be on longevity and becoming better athletes/fitter individuals, not simply getting the best time on the whiteboard. It’s not that we shouldn’t go hard in workouts and enjoy competing against the clock, our friends or ourselves (that’s what makes it so fun!); what I’m saying is that we have to keep in mind why we CrossFit to avoid getting too caught up in the competition aspect.
“So… Why do YOU CrossFit?”
I’ve asked a number of people this question and have heard so many answers and reasons, including
- to compete
- to become faster, stronger or more agile
- to lose weight and have fun, or
- to be strong/capable enough to do the other things in life we love.
The list keeps going, obviously. But therein lies a problem: if we treat every training day as if it were a competition by
- always giving 110%
- sacrificing good form/technique for a good time
- doing weights we aren’t yet ready for, and/or
- ignoring our bodies when they tell us to take a rest day…
then we are doing ourselves and our goals more harm than good.
Know Your Underlying Goal/Reason
It took me a long time to realize this (I still have to remind myself pretty regularly, and it was almost harder to understand/accept this concept when I didn’t compete, because for me the daily WOD was my competition. The thing is, if the underlying goal isn’t to compete but rather to have fun, get in shape, and become a stronger individual, etc., then things like not listening to our bodies, skipping rest days, and/or sacrificing technique for a good time/score are all excellent ways to end up sidelined by an injury and unable to continue training and doing what we love.
- getting injured because I didn’t listen when my body told me to ease off, or
- seeing other people get hurt by going balls to the wall every time they train.
Both of these possible results only serve to slow long-term gains, possibly take us out of training completely, and give CrossFit a bad name. As coaches and/or CrossFitters, it is important for all of us to us to remember that in the end, training is training.