Why Competing Matters
by Laci Greene, co-owner of CrossFit Fairbanks
- What are the benefits of competing?
- What have you learned from your competition experiences?
Competitions are a huge part of a CrossFitter’s life. Whether you are a brand new CrossFitter or a veteran, competitions are the key to bettering yourself, in all aspects of fitness.
I can’t even count the number of times women from our box who have skipped a competition simply because they know they won’t win or “can’t” perform certain movements. First of all, most competitions have scaling options available. Secondly, even if you are not (yet) competent in all movements, you can still compete. No excuses.
Here’s how I really see it — and know from personal experience:
1.Go outside your “box”!
CrossFit is all about constantly changing variables of exercise. If you only ever work out at one place or at one time or with one person, you are already losing the effect of one of the key defining aspects of CrossFit. Often times, I see ladies getting comfortable with their class time, their peers, their weights for selected exercises or even their coach. It’s okay to be uncomfortable sometimes – that’s the whole point, right? Don’t skip a competition just because it is not taking place at your gym or under your ideal conditions. Better yourself by pushing yourself beyond your comfort level.
2. Competitions are a perfect opportunity to expand your skill level!
Most women who choose to do competitions favor one type in particular. Maybe you love to do CrossFit metcons and choose to participate in local competitions or throw downs. Maybe you love Olympic weight lifting or power lifting and choose to sign up for strength competitions. Maybe you are an endurance athlete and travel the country hitting up marathons and triathlons. Why not try them all!? Don’t shy away from those competitions that you aren’t comfortable with. Again, it all goes back to the foundation of CrossFit, but it also broadens your skill level and improves your mental toughness. I have never participated in a competition where I didn’t come out with a PR. Adrenaline and peer pressure can do a lot for breaking through your own personal barriers. Who doesn’t love a PR?
Anyone who knows me knows I am not a runner; in fact, typically I do a lot of crying and complaining when faced with “long distance” running of any kind. I finally wo-manned up this summer and ran my first ever 5k. It wasn’t just any 5k, but a mud run/obstacle course winding up, down and through the Alaskan wood. The days leading up to the event were very nerve-racking, and I was terrified. I had never run a 5k before, and I really didn’t think I could do it. Turns out I’m not a bad runner after all. It doesn’t mean I loved it, but you can’t imagine how awesome it felt to finish. Nothing beats a feeling of accomplishment after any competition…even if the only thing you’re taking home is that sweet T-shirt at the end of the day. The sense of pride from putting yourself out there is well worth it.
Competitions are the best way to guarantee you’re not slacking in the gym, whether you are a seasoned CrossFitter or are fairly new to the whole concept. Train for a purpose. If you are signed up for a competition, you know you have to get to work every day, especially on your weaknesses. So sign up, and sign up early! If you are working hard and keeping that upcoming competition in the back of your mind, you will push harder during training. You’ll eat better. You’ll work those weaknesses more. And you will be a better athlete as a whole, guaranteed.
Trust me, ladies: there is nothing to lose from competing and everything to gain. You will surprise yourself with what you are able to do.